Project: Forestation Urbanization

Presenter: Alya Abourezk

Research Category: Humanities and Arts
Student Type: Undergraduate
PI: Alya Abourezk
Faculty Advisor: Ang Li
Award Winner Category: Humanities and Arts

With climate change arising as the most imminent crisis of our generation, there exists an urgency to the develop appropriate solutions and tactics to combat these rising temperatures. Industry and automobiles are perhaps two of today’s largest instigators, emitting extensive CO2 levels and other harmful emissions into the air. Cities such as Beijing and Los Angeles are now devastated with alarming amounts of smog, prompting many to wear masks to protect themselves from unclean air.

Much of modern urban infrastructure is made conducive to these two pollution-emitting agents. The current built environment is dominated by asphalted surfaces—neighborhoods are juxtaposed to industries, and an average of over 80% of city streets are dedicated to vehicular usage. These conditions are devastating the possibility of a rich, green urban situation

Since childhood, there is an inherent understanding that trees produce clean air—why cannot trees be used to mitigate the rise of climate change? Trees in urban contexts can assist in temperature reduction, removal of air pollutants and emission of volatile organic compounds. My project proposes a new urban typology in which trees and vegetation are the primary infrastructural agent. Beginning with a site in East Boston, it can easily be replicated to cities and neighborhoods across the world. Green elements are squeezed in every possible space: flooding the site with trees and covering buildings with vegetation. These elements work not only to combat climate change, but also to create a new dialogue between people and nature in an urban environment.