Located on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, WetLand is a sculptural habitat that raises awareness of climate change and resource interdependency. It’s free and open to the public now until September 21.
Art is integral to imagining new worlds. Launching August 15, 2014 on the Delaware River, WetLand is a mobile, sculptural habitat and public space constructed to explore resource interdependency and climate change in urban centers. A floating sculpture, it resembles a partially submerged building, integrating nature with urban space. Narrating a watery urban ecotopia, the interior contains a living space, work space, and performance space, it combines art, architecture, and ecology. WetLand’s overall ecosystem includes rainwater collection and purification, greywater filtration, dry compost systems, outdoor vegetable gardens, indoor hydroponic gardens, and railing gardens circling the perimeter.
Increasing numbers of people are growing some of their own food at home and in cooperative spaces, forming community-wide initiatives that support urban farms, rainwater collection, and storm water management. WetLand serves as a platform to strengthen these movements. Residents live onboard and host activities, including free workshops, performances, and events. A stage for evolving stories about our shared future, WetLand describes the impact each individual can have on our environment.
Attention to the social and environmental impacts involved in resource production, distribution, use, and disposal are important to the formation of WetLand. WetLand augments local economies by attracting a broad range of communities to the space. This fosters new friendships and collective experiences through exchange-based collaborations while recognizing novel ways of working and being together.
Through partnerships with educational institutions such as Philadelphia Academies and the Sustainability Workshop School, WetLand engages with students who steward the space, collect data relating to energy use and production, and test and maintain the project’s water systems. The goal of WetLand is to encourage individual community members to apply the ideas brought to life on board. Equal parts symbol, social space, stage, and shelter, the WetLand sculpture is an argument for thriving local environmental economies.