October 2011 Urban Environmental Systems Management Recap!
Thursday, Nov 03, 2011 @ 9:55 am
image by Taller13 Arquitectos
- LEAP lecture with Elias Cattan, featuring Rio la Piedad project.
- UESM student Rosa Munar exhibits Re-Plant furniture at New New York Block Party.
- Successful courses in Green Infrastructure at Pratt CCPS paving the way for future of stormwater management in NYC.
It was an exciting and busy month for Pratt Institute’s Urban Environmental Systems Management program! In addition to a series of client-based projects within studios, participation in green infrastructure tours, and exciting upcoming fellowship opportunities, some events from October truly demonstrate the variety of opportunities available through the program. Read along, and stay tuned for more UESM news in the near future!
image by Taller13 Arquitectos
LEAP Lecture: Elias Cattan of Taller13 explains biological function and community engagement towards the regeneration of Río La Piedad and the Mexico City watershed
Elias Cattan, founder of Taller13 Arquitectos and instructor at Universidad Iberoamericana lectured this month at Higgins Hall, in an event sponsored by LEAP. Explaining an ongoing project for the regeneration of Rio La Piedad in Mexico City, Cattan recalls the history of Mexico City as a landlocked wetland, and integrates a complex process of regeneration based on connections, influences, and systems, rather than objects and absolutes.
A workshop organized by ReGenesis last year galvanized a group of architects, planners, engineers, policymakers, artists, and other citizens to imagine the potential for Mexico City, instead of concentrating on specific problems to solve. This visionary strategy began with a re-connection to the past natural and cultural state of the city, including a tour of nearby forests and streams. A conversation between the various stakeholders ensued, concerning the complexity of cultures in Mexico City, and their interconnectivity as dictated by bodies of water.
The history of Mexico City is continuously tied to the water. Conquered in a naval battle fought kilometers above sea level, the city sits in a valley once immersed in wetlands. During its development into a metropolis, canals dictated direction of highways, and vice-versa. Water systems are tied directly to issues of transit, traffic and congestion, since they follow along the same paths. What once were rivers and streams cutting through the city are now canalized and buried underground. Mexico City’s waterways are now out of sight, out of mind; no accountability is necessary for the pollution inflicted on it, or for the loss of biodiversity and habitat.
Cattan and other designers involved in project’s development chose Rio La Piedad as an appropriate pilot project; located at the center of Mexico City, the site presents the most visibility. Due to its centrality, Rio La Piedad also provides a major axis within a larger proposed network of mass transit combined with river parks. Since 80% of the water in the city’s canals is fresh, coming from the Popocatepetl volcano and mountains surrounding the valley, proposals have centered around resurfacing and regenerating the river and wetland basin. Integration of transportation systems with river park systems brings more cohesion to transit, easing congestion, spurring investment in public and intermodal transportation, and fully utilizing infrastructure already in place. Keeping in mind the historical connection between the water and transportation, Rio La Piedad project is a piece of Transformational Infrastructure that re-interprets the essence of Mexico City.
To overcome the barriers inherent in large-scale public works projects in Mexico City, Cattan and other designers followed their own workshop with a series of public meetings within the disparate communities adjacent to the canal, trying to gain public support and build consensus on community needs and necessary system upgrades. Since the river is federal property, but the communities divided by it are different political districts within the city, this consensus is key. Community involvement also ameliorates public apathy built over decades of corruption and bureaucratic attrition, empowering residents and building support for the project. By studying and understanding local natural, urban, and societal systems, Elias Cattan and the Rio La Piedad project team are on their way to reinventing and revitalizing Mexico City.
photo by Leonel Lima Ponce for Inhabitat
Rosa Munar’s Re-Plant a great success at NEW New York DIY green block party!
Pratt PSPD Urban Environmental Systems Management student Rosa Munar, in collaboration with fellow Spanish architect Andres G. de los Salmones, was one of six winners of GreenHomeNYC's 2011 Design Challenge! The competition for innovative green outdoor lounge furniture designs culminated in an auction at The New New York DIY green block party, on Saturday, October 1st in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Read more about Rosa's entry, Re-Plant, in the UESM blog and an Inhabitat article about the event!
First round of Drainage & Hydrology of NYC courses concludes at Pratt Center for Continuing and Professional Studies, offers great hope for future courses and certificate!
Pratt Institute’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies, in collaboration with the UESM program and NYC Soil and Water Conservation District, launched a series of green infrastructure courses, Green Systems Clean Water, set up to be the basis of a professional certificate in green infrastructure. In order to implement green infrastructure projects at an urban scale, a complete, educated workforce is necessary, and this program is an initial step in that direction for New York City. The first course, Drainage and Hydrology in NYC, just finished its first round of offerings this month, to great success! It presents NYC-specific information regarding the natural and infrastructural systems that influence the design, construction, maintenance and monitoring of urban green infrastructure. The seven hour seminar is divided into shorter segments, focusing on things like soil and water, taught by different professionals working on Green Infrastructure in and around the city. During the Spring, following the completion of a Site Assessment course, students will be able to choose from a number of concentrations in green infrastructure projects, ranging from green roofs to bioswales and extended tree pits. As the program grows, we hope to look back on this month’s classes as the starting point for stormwater project specialists throughout the city!
Posted in • Environmental Systems Management