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Students Propose Ways to Achieve Zero-Carbon Footprint
New York Ag Connection - 01/12/2021

The Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn is rapidly being transformed from an industrial area fraught with 19th- and 20th-century pollution issues into a 21st-century residential and commercial community. While the revitalization of the neighborhood brings excitement, it also leads to important questions, namely: How will the scheduled rezoning of Gowanus likely impact resident quality of life, as well as urban heat stress adaptation, flood resilience, and greenhouse gas emission mitigation?

To help answer this question, and to propose ideas for mitigation for similar projects in the future, in spring 2019, the Urban Land Institute's (ULI) New York District Council and the ULI Urban Resilience Program invited students in the M.S. in Architecture, Urban, and Regional Design program to join an Urban Design Climate Workshop (UDCW). The workshop members also included the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), a global consortium of climate experts. This capacity-building exercise engaged the local community, real estate and land-use professionals, and government officials as they discussed ways to include climate projections in redevelopment initiatives.

Led by NYIT School of Architecture and Design Associate Professor Jeffrey Raven, FAIA, LEED BD+C, the graduate students who took part in the workshop sought to develop a case study to test different modeling approaches to achieve a zero-carbon footprint by 2050 that positively impacts the people within the community. "Working with these teams, we are prototyping a response to conditions in New York and elsewhere," Raven explained. "How can you design a district anticipated to become more crowded, hotter, and wetter and still have a wonderful quality of life? It was important to bring scientific urban planners and students to the table to study this."

For the New York Tech graduate student participants, the UDCW presented the opportunity to conduct research, develop strategies, and work with a variety of professionals in real time. Student Jinali Shah served as a graduate assistant in spring 2020 to Raven and graduating members of the research team to support their design and strategies. She also arranged meetings between industry experts, stakeholders, American Institute of Architects members, and the New York Tech team. "I played the role of a catalyst to strive for the balance between all the participants," Shah said.

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