A Visual Tour of Resilient Urban Futures Along Africa's Great Rift Valley

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Current and Upcoming

A Visual Tour of Resilient Urban Futures Along Africa's Great Rift Valley

July 22, 2020
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

 Join Columbia Architecture and Urban Design Studio students and faculty in a visual exploration of pathways to resilient, thriving communities along the Great Rift Valley - from Beira, Mozambique, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and across the Red Sea to Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. This program is a world-spanning initiative of Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

You'll meet Kate Orff, MSAUD Program Director and Thaddeus Pawlowski, Director of the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, along with master's degree students who prepared StoryMaps presentations of their analyses. Explore their presentations here: https://j.mp/gsappgreatrift

(Two journalists who reported on the project, Kelley Lynch and Vanessa Barchfield, may also participate.)

The host of the discussion is Andy Revkin, founding director of the Earth Institute Initiative on Communication and Sustainability and founder and producer of this Sustain What webcast. More webcasts: http://j.mp/sustainwhatlive

More on the Great Rift design project:

The Great Rift Valley marks a global transect along geological fault lines. It’s an active space of movement and exchange spanning watery crevices and fertile landscapes from the Jordan River Valley in the Middle East to the Zambezi Delta; in these extensive shallows, fresh river water meets the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.

The tectonic plates underlying the Rift are pulling away from each other, and expanding socio-political fractures on the surface follow suit.

The 2020 spring semester Urban Design Studio explored how three cities along the Rift—Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Beira, Mozambique—might forge systems and spaces to span this divide amid rapid urbanization and while grappling with the unique impacts of the climate crisis. Student design projects imagine creative alternatives to address the interrelated risks faced by vulnerable populations. These include extreme heat in Tel Aviv, flash flooding due to river floodplain development in Addis Ababa, and coastal inundation and disaster recovery in Beira, which was struck by Cyclone Idai in 2019.

The studio’s visionary design strategies propose new forms of urban living that embrace the complexity of water, which is critical to maintaining life along the Rift; the strategies foster social interactions through local stewardship and empowerment models. Marked with fossil evidence from the beginning of human civilization, the Great Rift Valley encourages bold thinking about Earth’s next 100 years of habitability. The Rift suggests new approaches to social and ecological life that bridge global and local economies and furthers site-specific proposals that advance resilient urban design in each context.

Please consider supporting this webcast and Initiative on Communication and Sustainability! You can donate to the Earth Institute and earmark your support here: https://ei.givenow.columbia.edu/

Provide feedback on Sustain What segments in a quick survey here:
http://j.mp/sustainwhatfeedback

Ideas for episodes? Email andrew.revkin@columbia.edu