Arup University Leader Presents for Speaker Series

by |May 2, 2019

By Caroline Berman

The Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development welcomed Maria Aiolova, an Arup University leader and the co-founder of Terreform ONE, to conclude its Speaker Series for the 2018-19 academic year. Aiolova spoke to students about her background and path to her current role as well as many impressive projects from Arup and Terreform ONE.

She discussed a new multidisciplinary profession called the “urbaneer,” which seeks to reinvent the urban space. Terreform’s Urbaneering Brooklyn 2110 project seeks to answer the question of whether the city can provide all of the necessities its residents need (jobs, food, energy, etc.) within its boundaries. It proposes strategies to change downtown Brooklyn to develop more productive green space by condensing the cities infrastructure and incorporating new technology.

Aiolova also explained the Red Hook Recovery project that Arup has worked on with the New York City Housing Authority to reconstruct housing in the Red Hook neighborhood post-Hurricane Sandy to improve its resiliency. These improvements include permeable surfaces that can absorb water, rain gardens storm sewer overflow capture and more.

The talk concluded with Aiolova discussing an exhibit in Milan that Arup contributed to called RECKONstruct, which highlights biofabrication as a path toward a circular economy. The exhibit includes three types of biofabricated stools: one made from mycelium and agricultural byproducts, another from landfill-excavated materials styled after an Israeli company’s strategy and a one which was 3D printed and biomimetic designed to require less material to produce. This exhibit is part of a larger international exhibition themed around “Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival.” However, despite the title of the exhibit she described, Aiolova left attendees feeling inspired with the idea that nature can be resilient rather than broken with the help of forward thinking and ingenuity.

To learn more about the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development, visit our website or contact Cari Shimkus at cshimkus@ei.columbia.edu .

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