SEQUESTROPOLIS II: AVs & Afforestation In Conjunction with Harvard Forest

Barring a drastic human response to climate change, by 2050 Boston will be dealing with heavier winter rains, droughts in the summer, a depleted aquifer, hotter temperatures, as well as a combined sea-level rise and storm surge of 8’ that will flood most of Boston, Cambridge and Allston.

Global warming is the biggest challenge that humans face. As designers of our environment, Landscape Architects must address this important issue. Even if we were to go to a zero-carbon economy today, without carbon sequestration efforts our planet will continue to heat up to a level which will have catastrophic impacts on humans as well as other forms of life around the world.

Our studio is a speculation of how the new technology of Automated Vehicles (AVs), together with afforestation of urban areas, can play a major role in helping cities to adapt to and mitigate global warming, drawdown carbon, reduce heat island effect and ultimately work in a symbiotic fashion with the built environment to enable cities to adapt to and mitigate a warming environment.

Our studio is a continuation of our previous 2016/17 studio, done in conjunction with Harvard Forest and based on their study, “Changes to the Land”, set in the future of 2060. We explored this thesis focusing on of the densest townships of Boston, comprised of 108sm and 900,000 inhabitants. The studio, through designed plans, illustrations and metrics, showed a potential benefit of $206,000,000 in energy savings per year. Based upon the convincing outcome of the 2017 studio, our 2018 Studio will go deeper into the topic through further research and design.

Our site will be a transect, 15mile x 2mile wide following the Red Line, taking us from Boston’s inner city, through suburbs, past I-95 and into more rural environments. We will use space harvested from unused space from streets and parking areas, under-utilized public spaces, and existing parks. We will examine complex underground conditions to produce a more accurate picture of costs and benefits.

We will also study topics such as urban agriculture, the densification of suburbs, explore new wood products, and the transformation of Boston into a more poly-centric city so to make it more self-reliant in the future and meet the overall objectives set by Harvard Forest’s Regional Reliance Scenario.

Our goal is to create a different view on the possibilities of AV technology through creating a collaboration between two quite different industries such as Silicon Valley and landscape architecture through exhibiting the potentials for technology and ecology to form a future urbanism.  

We will work in groups at the urban design scale and individually on specific site design.

A number of pertinent specialists will lecture during the studio.

Evaluations will be based upon attendance, class participation, amount of effort and quality of design.