urbanism + environment

As a dual degree student in the Yale Schools of Forestry and Architecture, I investigate how cities can be made more sustainable, more walkable, less car-dependent, and better integrated with nature and functional food and waste systems. Most importantly, in line with the principles of Biohumanism, I am interested in urban interventions that give city dwellers a connection to nature. My favorite writers and researchers in this area include Richard Register, Tim Beatley, Alex Felson, Stephen Kellert, and many others.
below are a few current projects I'm working on:

Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience in Southern Connecticut, Joint Yale FES/SoA Design Project with The Nature Conservancy

In Spring and Summer 2016, I served as a student manager for a coastal resilience project. I was responsible for working directly with The Nature Conservancy, ten municipal governments, and student employees to coordinate the production of ten specific urban design proposals for Southern Connecticut coastal towns that will help them adapt to rising sea levels. Working with The Nature Conservancy, town engineers, and UED Lab leaders, I helped to craft the three-stage proposal, shown at left, for adapting flood-prone areas of Fairfield to rising sea levels, which included interventions ranging from building levees and boardwalks, to raising homes over the water on stilts, to better integrating the community with the wetland’s natural cycles.

Mediated Urban Natures: Strategies for Connecting Urban Dwellers to the Natural World

This research project, undertaken for David Kooris' Planning Seminar and developed for the Connecticut Trust for Public Land, is meant to serve as an initial framework for interventions in the urban landscape that mediate urban dwellers’ experiences with nature. It is organized into seven major categories, although many of the case studies fall into several categories at once. After reviewing what “environmental education” means in an urban context, the report considers constructed nature, ornament, messaging, animals, technology, play, and participation as possible strategies for mediation. In each category, a brief review of relevant literature is followed by a presentation of case study projects, as well as a list of suggestions for implementation in a low-budget context.

Collaboration with Gioia Connell, YSoA/FES M. Arch I / M.E.M ‘20;  Katy Mixter, YSOM/FES M.E.M/M.B.A. ‘17; Maria Pozimski, FES M.E.M. ‘18; and Aary Lee, YSoA M. Arch I ‘18

How can scientists and architects work together to restore ecological function to an urban area? This design for the canal city of Lowell, MA is the result of a semester-long collaboration between students in the schools of Architecture and Forestry. Taking as our site an abandoned lot at the intersection of several canals, we developed a series of ecological experiments that doubled as sites for public engagement with the ecosystems of the canals. Together, the team put together a project that incorporated design, historical analysis, scientific rigor, and financing pragmatism. A collection of experimental “blue fingers”, paired with a cultural center; a public marina; and a set of experimental habitat ponds attached to a Living Lab museum and research center formed the crux of the proposal, which was pitched to the City of Lowell in May 2017.

NYCAP (New York City Afforestation Project
Beginning in Summer 2015, I worked with researchers from the School of Forestry to conduct sampling in an experimental urban forest in Queens, New York, a collaboration that is set to continue for the next four years. Our data will help parks managers determine best urban forestry practices.

Urban Plan proposal for a new neighborhood in Frederick, MD 
(work done with Mike Huston for Duany Plater-Zyberk&Co, Summer 2014) 
DPZ was invited by a local developer to create an urban plan for a new neighborhood just outside of Frederick, MD, in collaboration with community groups and the municipality. In line with the city’s goals, the development was to be well-connected to the city core and car-independent. After meeting with the client and residents, I worked with designer Mike Huston to design and hand-draw the proposed plan option depicted above. Many of our ideas, including the preservation of a natural “greenway” through the property as a drainage and wildlife corridor and the use of existing farm buildings as centers for small squares, were integrated into the final plan. The zoning was approved in October 2015. 

(work done for Duany Plater-Zyberk&Co, Summer 2013)
DPZ was invited to a workshop in Monroe, LA with the aim of coming up with proposals to reinvent the currently decaying downtown core and make it an attractive place for a walkable, sustainable lifestyle. Each team member was assigned an area of downtown to research, and my drawing above presents proposals for the Desiard East area, including a new parking facility with liner buildings, the use of existing alleys as public spaces and restaurant seating, and the restoration and expansion of historic buildings.