Project Global: Ground

This exploration of our current day metropolitan condition as a system of systems deals with the crust of the Earth as a primary carrying capacitor of human activities, from the extraction of resources deep within the ground, to agricultural operations that barely scratch the surface.

Part 1: Lexicon

Part 2: Atlas

Part 3: Architectural Projects

Part 1: Lexicon index

︎ Formation

    ︎ Kaapvaal Craton
    ︎ Johannesburg Dome
    ︎ Vredefort Dome
    ︎ Topsoil
    ︎ Müggelsee

︎ Measurement    ︎ Schwerbelastungskörper
    ︎ Mining Earthquakes
    ︎ Low-tech Soil Testing
    ︎ Soil Texture Triangle
    ︎ Geologic Time Scale 
    ︎ Stratigraphic Colum
    ︎ Geographic Information System
    ︎ Ecotone
    ︎ Cultural Landscape

︎ Prototype
    ︎ Unter den Linden
    ︎ Zoological Landscape
    ︎ Counterculture
    ︎ Cultural Agency
    ︎ Mine-pit Lakes
    ︎ Parliament of Things

︎ Land distribution
    ︎ 1913 Natives Land Act
    ︎ District Six
    ︎ Eavesdropping
    ︎ Reconciliation Policy
    ︎ Land Grabbing
    ︎ Land Acting
    ︎ The Red Ants
    ︎ #PutSouthAfricansFirst
    ︎ Suburban Enclaves
    ︎ Parallel State

︎ Extraction
    ︎ Cullinan Diamond Mine
    ︎ Platinum Group Metals
    ︎ Zamazamas
    ︎ Gold Rush Inertia
    ︎ Sinkhole
    ︎ Maize Doctor
    ︎ Coal Hands

︎ Infrastructure
    ︎ Gautrain
    ︎ Le-guba
    ︎ Lesotho Water Project
    ︎ Deutscher Wald
    ︎ Arrival City

︎ Production
    ︎ Safari Economy
    ︎ Agritourism
    ︎ Rainfall Line
    ︎ Upington Airport
    ︎ Tiergarten Transformation
    ︎ Pivot Irrigation
    ︎ Allotment Garden
    ︎ Bokoni Terracing
    ︎ Johannesburg Forestation
    ︎ Game Farming Cycle

︎ Waste
    ︎ Trümmerberg
    ︎ Fab-Soil
    ︎ Mining Waste Belt
    ︎ Sanitary Landfilling
    ︎ Soil Structure
    ︎ Biogas Technology

︎ Pollution
    ︎ Dry Stacked Tailings
    ︎ Water Pollution
    ︎ Soil Pollution
    ︎ Uranium Sandstorms
    ︎ Poaching

︎ Remediation
    ︎ European Green Belt
    ︎ Conservation Agriculture
    ︎ Airfield Urbanism
    ︎ Solar Park
    ︎ Gold Reef City
    ︎ Mine Pit Lake
    ︎ Loess Plateau
    ︎ Erosion Control


“ Growth of plants at 90 days – comparing control on native soil with Fab-Soil made by mixing coal waste with native soil with specified amendments.”

As the rest of the world moves away from coal, South Africa continues to depend heavily on coal as a source of economic value, employment, and energy.1  Coal waste deposits occupy and disturb large areas, affecting topography and polluting the soil.
        The Center for Bioprocess Engineering at the University of Cape Town in South Africa has developed a new strategy for soil restoration, using fine coal waste as the main component of an artificially developed substrate, a layer of soil critical for the establishment of plant cover and root development.2
        The process consists of collecting fine coal waste and native topsoil from a colliery in the eMalahleni mining site, and mixing them in different ratios. The coal waste is characterized by ultrafine low sulfur tailings obtained from a two-stage desulphurization process.3
        The most common strategy for coal waste management is to cover the waste with different layers of new soil in an attempt to reduce water and wind erosion. The proposed waste mixture, named Fab-Soil, or Fabricated soil, results in a technosol capable of adequately promoting plant growth. It is a potential resource to accelerate revegetation in mining sites reducing or even eliminating the amount of topsoil used in land restoration in a South African context.

Image source: Amaral Filho et al., “On the Feasibility of South African Coal Waste for Production of ‘FabSoil’, a Technosol.”

1.   Statistics South Africa, “The Importance of Coal | Statistics South Africa,” accessed March 6, 2022,
2.   Juarez R. Amaral Filho et al., “On the Feasibility of South African Coal Waste for Production of ‘FabSoil’, a Technosol,” Minerals Engineering 146 (January 15, 2020): 106059,
3.   Process of removing sulfur from coal waste.