the Pink Sink
Project Type: Landscape Architecture, Public Art, Idea Competition
Size: Varies by specific installation
Location: Calgary, Alberta Canada
The Pink Sink is a proposal to convert the lost space of a long and narrow highway median into a space for carbon sequestration and environmental public art. The primary design goal, "the SINK", is to remove carbon dioxide from the air near the highway. The secondary design goal, "the PINK", marks the space of the carbon sink median by painting the curbs, and installing pink light posts that make environmental data visible to the public. Carbon is removed from the atmosphere through planting and soil amelioration strategies: 1) the mix of plants are selected for the most eective carbon storage pathways year-round and 2) biological charcoal (aka biochar) is added to the soil as an amendment to increase carbon storage in the ground. These strategies are based on how plants take in carbon dioxide and use it for photosynthesis and how plant communities, together with soils, eectively store carbon. The planting strategy is informed by Great Plains Prairie and Boreal Conifer Forest functions but does not exactly replicate those ecosystems. Instead, it is a hybrid "Piney Grassland" constructed for success in the urban realm and to take advantage of the best carbon storage mechanisms of both ecosystem types. The curbs around the median are painted bright pink to clearly mark the site with a bold line. Pink light posts create a landmark and provide data that teaches the public about how much carbon is sequestered onsite.