This interdisciplinary course established groups of both designers and ecologists to study and evaluate the relationships between urban design and ecological performance through a series of case studies, field explorations, and studio visits. New York City served as a test site to evaluate urban systems with regards to vegetation, wildlife, sediment management, water, energy, and pollution using techniques of visual mapping and the application of quantitative scientific criteria over multiple scales.

Charged with the task of exploring how the Brooklyn Navy Yards could be transformed to cope with rising sea levels, the team proposed an adaptive reuse of the defunct dry docks. Each dock would become a test garden for species that could thrive through periodic salt water inundation while providing stormwater management services. The terraced sides of each dock would be opened to the public, to create recreational and educational opportunities along what was previously a private industrial waterfront.

Professors Gena Wirth and Matthew Palmer. Columbia GSAPP 2016.