The specific focus of the studio has been food security and the potential for urban agriculture in an evolving neighborhood in New York City, which is presently seeking innovative methods to reverse decades of environmental injustice and degradation. The studio analyzes the options for agricultural production in the urban context, with practical applications of concepts such as "vertical farming," "green/blue roofs," and "edible schoolyards." Connections to food security and economic development, including jobs and job-training, childhood and continuing education, and health services delivery have been explored, with students producing projects that go on to be further researched/implemented in the city and elsewhere.
This project is the fourth joint studio that the Urban Design Lab coordinates with the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Senior Civil and Environmental Engineering Design Seminar at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). The Urban Design Lab methodology allows a closer look, bringing leaders and residents together to develop a plan for greening a neighborhood where environmental disparities have been acute.
East Harlem is known as Spanish Harlem, or as locals define it, “El Barrio” (the neighborhood). It houses the largest Latino population in New York City as a result of an influx in immigration from Puerto Rico that started in the 1950’s. Today, East Harlem is home to a mix of Latinos from the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Central and South America, as well as immigrants from West Africa. Approximately 117,000 people live in this neighborhood.
The Urban Ecology Studio is a research and training collaboration between the Senior Civil and Environmental Engineering Design Seminar at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). The Urban Ecology Studio trains students of different disciplines to investigate deeply environmental design solutions for cities in the twenty first century.
Faculty: Richard Plunz, Trish Culligan, Dimitrios Vlachopoulos.
Image by Barret Amy Ramya, GSAPP, MSAAD ‘08