CarbonSync by Edward Gant, Sarah Tolley, Rowan Case, Arlene Decker
The underused spatial remnants of London’s industrial age are re-imagined as new spaces for urban commoning, creating a network of socially constructed and synchronised spaces across the city. Disused docks and gasometers occur throughout London, but are currently underused and at risk of privatisation, especially through consumption-led urban regeneration.
These spaces can be reclaimed and reused to provide areas of dense urban tree planting; a public space typology rarely available within cities. These urban forests will function as carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide from the industrial processes of the city and converting it into oxygen for its citizens. Thus safe-guarding clean air for future generations. Akin to naturally occurring woodlands, these spaces would provide access to multiple biophilic benefits, including the emotional and psychological benefits of nature within the city.
Each Carbon Sync intervention has the potential to produce multiple resources for local people and beyond through collective ownership and management. Opportunities would include: spending time outdoors, engaging in meaningful exercise, learning new skills, reducing climate change, and improving air quality. The resources produced will not be tangible, but arguably more meaningful and wider reaching in their influence and impact than material resources. These are resources to be shared and enjoyed by society, as opposed to individual gain.
The social process, through which these spaces would be reclaimed and re-imagined, would start with local community planting to engage and instill a sense of ownership over time, whilst creating a legacy for future generations. Volunteers and the unemployed would sustain the design and partnerships with charity organisations could be arranged.
Carbon Sync proposes a range of interventions across the city, forming a wider network of opportunities for urban commoning; reclaiming and re-imagining underused former industrial sites to achieve a range of productive outcomes.
The team consists of four people who met when they returned to university to retrain and study landscape architecture at the University of Greenwich. Their experience prior to this is a diverse mix including; acting, English language and linguistics, human geography, fashion and philosophy.
Edward Gant is a landscape architect at Arup. His conceptual idea of draining disused docks to provide greater benefit to local communities was a key factor in realising the project. His excellent visual realisation of the dock and his layout skills were utilised to great effect.
Sarah Tolley is a landscape architect at Levitt Bernstein. Sarah has played key roles in realising local community led projects at Levitt Bernstein and extended her knowledge in this area to the project. She contributed significantly to important discussions about community and capitalism as well as creating the conceptual map and diagrams.
Rowan Case is involved in business development and marketing in the built environment. Her perspective has been an asset to the project as Rowan has been able to contextualise the forward thinking nature of the concept and show its benefit to society. She specifically wrote the rationale and contributed feedback for visuals and clarity.
Arlene Decker is a landscape architect at Turkington Martin. Her conceptual idea of using old gasometers as carbon sinks, was a key factor in realising this project. Combining her idea with Ed’s led to the overall concept of a carbon sink network across the city. She provided the sketch design for the gasometer and created the Timeline Section. She was also instrumental in the last minute coordination of the project.