Ancient Roman landfill a model for modern-day reclamation

A recent look at a centuries-old landfill – the eighth hill of Rome – presents new insight into the variety of uses and cultural identities reclaimed landfills today might strive toward. On Places, architect Michael Ezban explores the history and current status of Monte Testaccio as an integral part of the Roman urban fabric. As a depository for the shards of millions of olive oil-transporting clay vessels, known as amphorae, Monte Testaccio reached a height of over 100 feet throughout several centuries. Because of its composition, this otherwise inactive landfill has become an active and useful part of the urban landscape in the centuries since. It has been a material stockpile, housed wine cellars, served as a setting for passion plays, competitive festivities, and military training, and hosted a wide range of both marginalized populations and commercial activities at its base.

In Ezban’s article, Freshkills Park is mentioned in particular as an example of modern reclamation that similarly “integrates multiple functions and constituencies” in its design.

As a historical model, Monte Testaccio provides a particularly interesting case study, reflecting the many possibilities inherent in contemporary aspirations to transform waste landscapes into productive, multivalent spaces.

(via Places: Design Observer)

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