Haven’t you always wanted your own pre‐cycled modular bioreactor? If not, you can see a picture of one bulging over the Filene’s Basement hole in Downtown Crossing over at Transportbox. You can view the “Eco-Pod”, as it is bafflingly known, free of familiar surroundings at the Archello site. Created by the architects Howeler + Yoon to… well, it’s supposed to be an algae farm, but those robot-arm appendages look a lot like blasters to me.
But how do I know what an algae farm should look like? It hasn’t been built yet—which brings me to Boston’s other great expensive unbuilt site, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. A commenter on my last post pleaded for a more moderate approach to the Greenway, and wrote:
“Why is it always assumed that the Greenway needs to be a “landmark destination?” It is not particularly suited to that given its shape, nor location… Urban residents need open space, not tourists, office buildings or food carts. The Greenway can be beautiful neighborhood parks.”
First of all, the distinction between landmark destinations and neighborhood parks seems artificial to me. Can’t we have brilliant, distinctive neighborhood parks? I’d hazard that Boston’s Chinatown Park fits the bill.
The shape and location aren’t limits; the Greenway isn’t any narrower than nearby Post Office Square Park, a mere 1.7 acres on top of a parking garage (which pays for the park). The location? The Greenway’s parcels directly across from South Station, the New England Aquarium, and Rowe’s Wharf seem like fine tourist destinations to me.
No, what the Greenway is lacking is inspiration—and the money to make permanent improvements. Nobody wants to make a commitment, so why not have some fun with temporary installations? Last year’s Big Hammock was a great start. I’d love to see a giant shiny purple jelly bean across from the Federal Reserve Building, or a couple of edible-walled Eat Houses near Haymarket.
There is one group that isn’t afraid to make a commitment to the Greenway. The Boston Tree Party is going to be planting a pair of heirloom apple trees on the Greenway on Sunday, April 10, to kick off their campaign to plant 100 pairs of apple trees in civic spaces all over Boston. I wish them patience; in my limited experience, New England’s apple trees are attacked by every insect and fungus known to humanity. But if they give up on vulnerable fruit, I bet they could replace it with a nice, clean, slightly used algae farm, cheap.