Phase 1: Autumn 2005
Phase 2: Summer 2010
Phase 2 Team:
Maya Przybylski
Neeraj Bhatia
Project appears in Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism

In Southeast Michigan, the open space network is defined as being composed of four primary types: wetlands, cultural parks, grasslands, and active agricultural. While wetlands and cultural parks have a safe-guarded status, grasslands and active agricultural fields are in a more vulnerable position. The region's current development plan releases grasslands and active agricultural land from any protected status. With this removal, the open space network experiences a significant reduction in its continuity.

At the moment of their conception, landfills are located at a point of equilibrium where their distance from developed regions minimizes operational impacts while maintaining an economic proximity to sources of waste. When we examine the outward growth of urban centers such as Detroit, this rationale fails to hold. Ironically, four of the six active landfills within Wayne County are now surrounded by development that emerged after the landfills were opened. Thus, the existence of a landfill does not preclude development around it.

Just as active agriculture once reserved open space, why not now deploy another industrious, open space preserving land use in order to regain some of the lost connectivity? Why not use the landfill as part of a land reservation system?

Landfills inherently preserve open space since they cannot be built upon. What is not inherent in the execution of a landfill is its capacity to structure, organize, and connect.
Landfilling Economies and Ecologies in Southeast Michigan.
Absorbing Landfills in Sprawl
Detroit’s growth paired with landfill locations and opening dates: once exurban sites become engulfed by development.
Landfill as Connector
Above: Existing open space network (shown in black). Below: The same network with unprotected spaces removed.
Landfill as Connector
Landfill sites serve to knit islands of open space into a continuous fabric.
Landfill Morphology
Conventional landfill sites optimize capacity, limited primarily by the angle of repose of the waste materials they hold. But a variety of alternative construction strategies emerge when post-landfilling programs are anticipated.
Post-landfilling Programs

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