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Jonathan Ngai


Healing the landscape and reimagining industrial history.


The Santa Susana Field Laboratory is a complex 2,850-acre site in the hills above
Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. For nearly 60 years, the site was the pioneer of the American
Space Program, testing rocket engines, nuclear power, and manufacturing parts. The 60 year
history of the site was not unclouded however, and the site suffered extensive contamination
from a meltdown event estimated to be 300x worse than Three Mile Island. Since the site’s
closing in 2006, numerous residents and former workers have come forward and revealed a
troubling trend of cancer and disease. Restore focuses on Area II of the SSFL, a 410-acre NASA
owned portion of the site. While most would want to steer clear of contaminated landscapes,
Restore hopes to create a unique and safe visitor experience that demonstrates the process and
fundamentals of phytoremediation through a series of trails and demonstration areas. Industrial
elements will be interacted with in unique ways including climbing and ziplining, providing fun
and interesting ways to view and learn about the site. Public transparency and awareness are two
areas of concern looking to be resolved with this project.

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