Botanic Renovation


Our Site is the fourth largest city in the north of the Arctic Circle and located at the easternmost town in Europe. It is also the coldest city in all of Europe, with a record coldest temperature of –50 °C. Surrounding this city, there also have the remaining labor camps from war, making this area harsher than ever. The scarcity of inhabitants and the harsh climate make this city unsuitable for living. This is Vorkuta, a coal-mining town perennially submerged in pure white, waiting for dying on the far northern frontier, the Komi Republic, Russia.

Once upon a time, the excavation of the mines brought plenty of jobs. People gathered here together, settlements were built and gradually developed into cities. However, located in the northern frontier, the perennial cold climate, snow covering accompanied by the depletion of natural resources, people gradually abandoned the city. The tundra is riddled with holes leftover from mining farms and erosion. The city is dying due to the harsh environment and the surrounding. Continuous snow covering, green losing, and population loss are all trying to push the city to death. But the story of Vorkuta will not over. But the story of Vorkuta will not over. There still have opportunities to bring this area hopes: abandoned mining farms and snow. The spread of mining wells creates a basin effect: a warmer environment inside, which may serve as a survival point on the vast snow tundra. Temperature is an intangible asset in the tundra, and a warmer mining farm can be used as a breeding ground for tundra species.

Although humans have occupied a corner of the tundra for a long time, we are, in the end, just one part of the ecosystem. Apart from humans, Vorkuta, these decaying industrial cities might be able to prosper again in another way. Snow and cold blanketed the cities on the plains. Although they are not suitable for human habitation, nor can they support forests and meadows, snow has the capability to breathe life into the tundra. Snow covering keeps the plants warm, and the melting snow is rich in nitrogen, which is good for planting, such as mosses that thrive in the tundra. Meanwhile, another plant, red algae, has the capability to grow in snow. These plants can co-exist with the snow and bring the tundra back to life.

Abandoned cities may be hard to bring back to life, abandoned mines certainly leave the land riddled with holes. But making efficient use of the existing environment itself is how species keep surviving. With the assistance of different forms of dataset and visualization, we wanted to explore possibilities about species trying to survive in the tundra, based on the abandoned mining farms, nourished and flourished by the snow.

\ Data Visualization and Guidance

Point clouds serve as a medium for us to study the morphology of snow data.
Through analyzing a large number of snow textures and patterns, we are trying to visualize a common snow data appearance from particular snow patterns. The mines, as the foundation of Vorkuta, were affected by snow elements and thus are combined with the data visualization research, serve as the basis of morphology.

Snow affects the mine as an input element, and as tundra organisms: nutrients from mosses and algae organically combine with mine data, acting as an abstract carrier of the existing forms of a guided reality.

\ Model Exploration

Using point clouds applying 2D-3D visualization, we determined a preliminary visual model of snow-mine-tundra ecology. The model experiment begins with the mine visualization as the basis, using the snow data for three-dimensional influence, to get the original conceptual model of the terrain.

In the process of data point cloud, the mineral data and snow data are obtained by distinguishing colours. In the ecological research of Vorkuta, moss grows on soil and snow as its nourishment while red algae live in the snow. Based on these two characteristics, we used mineral data as the starting point of moss growth simulation, and snow as the food point. In the red algae growth simulation, only snow data points were selected. Through data terrain visualization model and plant growth path simulation, we trying to explore the botanic perspective of renovated Vorkuta.