Urban Design & Planning
Climate Adaption & Resilient Landscapes
Geospatial Analysis & Mapping




PUBLIC DESIGN COLLABORATIVE




Interdisciplinary design studio leveraging climate science, cartography and urban design for a new generation of city makers


“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
Jane Jacobs

Mapping Biodiversity in a Meditarranean Microclimate
Princes Islands Archipelago, Istanbul
2019-10 - 16th Istanbul Biennial: Island Songlines
The Princes’ Islands archipelago, two kilometers off Istanbul’s Asian shores, have offered freedom and isolation from the mainland metropolis for centuries and historically has been a refuge for artists, writers and thinkers. Today, the fragile ecology of the islands are under the pressure of development from the mainland metropolis.

In many ways, the islands reflect a past Istanbul, but can also speak optimistically about its future, one where new relations are found between the unique geography of the city, its guests, residents, its flora and fauna. Taking inspiration from Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines, “Island Songlines” explores how a contemporary definition of Nature is emerging today in the islands through the evolving migration patterns of birds, the depletion of fisheries, the transplantation of corals, the debates on banning horse carriages and conservation of the islands’ Mediterranean pine and maki forests.

With citizen scientists and volunteers, the local initiative Adalar Savunması has collected over 780 observations of 373 species as part of their Biodiversity Inventory Study. These maps visualize the rich biodiversity of the islands, a unique Mediterranean microclimate, as mapped by citizen scientists, from white storks and Spanish lavendar to Japanese crabapples and Turkish pine trees. These series of maps were prepared in collaboration with Daniel Marshall
 
Remote Sensing Desertification
Jordan Valley
2018 - ongoing
 

While the international community saw arid zone development in the post-war era as a fight against desertification, arid lands are characterized by contrasts shaped by access to water. Since pre-historic times, people have lived in arid zones, which are not necessarily marked by an absolute lack of water, but a different evolution of human settlements in a context of contrasts and extreme variability. Desertification is contingent on spatial factors, on power, infrastructure and borders.

Following the Jordan River from Lake Tiberias to the Dead Sea, we see a landscape transformed by modern agriculture and infrastructure. Downstream of Jordan River, the Dead Sea is shrinking as freshwater is diverted to date farms, fish ponds and mineral extraction. Fresh water aquifers along its perimeter of the lake are receding with it.

This research, conducted with support from the Jordan Valley Authority, Aga Khan Foundation and MIT International Science and Technology Initiative, uses remote sensing imagery and groundtruthing surveys to map the uneven distribution of water access and the risk of climate-induced displacement in Jordan Valley. 

1. A false color image of Jordan Valley [combining Near Infrared, Red and Green Bands] Jordan River disects Israeli kibbutz farms and fish ponds on the left from Jordanian family farms on the right. 2. Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) 3. Context map—water access along the valley corridor. 4&5. Methodology for remote sensing desertification risk. Satellite Images obtained through the Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA.



Collective Mapping Workshop
Istanbul, Turkey
2018-09 - 4th Istanbul Design Biennial
Design education is typically divorced from the complexity and political nature of building. It lacks spatial agency. In response, this workshop series is conceived as an experimental lab for action-oriented mapping practices, developed for the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial. 

The curators of the Biennial ask: “What is the role of seen and unseen spatial information in learning?” Through experimental ways of collecting and layering spatial information, from field surveys to remote sensing and archival research of maps, the lab conceives of the map as a medium of knowledge creation and corresponding action. Mapping entails creating and building the world as much as measuring, documenting and describing it. The outcome of the workshops is to introduce alternative ways of designing through the cartographic process. We intend to make visible different layers of information within maps that are dynamic and responsive to the world around them. 

Resilient Districts
New York
2018-05

As part of the NYC Deparment of City Planning’s ongoing climate resiliency initiatives, the city is working with coastal communities to update the special zoning regulations that apply in the 100 and 500 year floodplain. The term "100-year flood" is used to simplify the definition of a flood that statistically has a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year. Hurricane Sandy was a 300-year storm. In this new paradigm, the city is hoping to make regulations promoting flood-resistant design permanent to ensure that neighborhoods are more resilient to flooding and climate change. 

1. Lots that are in the 100 year and 500 year floodplains of New York City. Sandy was a 300 year storm. 2. Zoning districts in the floodplain. 3. New construction and demolitions in the floodplain.

Cargo Collective
Frogtown, Los Angeles