Four student teams were assembled to address priority concerns delineated by a class survey: biodiversity and urban agriculture. The first project, Adaptaspace by Ross Diamond, Elaine Mahoney and Fred Wolf, seeks to enhance future biodiversity on campus by focusing plant selections on species that will thrive today and in a warmer, wetter climate. This vegetation is arranged into different zones, so that the roof undergoes both seasonal and long-term transformations. Additional features include use of an abandoned pool and transparent piping and tanks to bring visibility to CSO outfalls and stormwater issues while utilizing existing Pratt infrastructure.
Public (Pratt Urban Biodiversity Learning and Instruction Center,) by Tyler Klifman, Rosa Munar, Lauren Standke, and Nathaniel Ziering, strives to fulfill two main goals: to utilize the roof as a visually stimulating bird habitat while also engaging students and related communities in the process. A wide selection of plants will offer seasonal food and shelter to specific migratory avian species. Targeted grasslands species have difficulty surviving in New York City during their journey, and the roof will serve as a haven for these birds. Bird watchers and ornithologists will follow, and will engage with the roof as well as surrounding communities. Further interaction will be achieved through a biodiversity web, including community programs such as birdhouse design competitions, and crowdsourced data gathered by enthusiasts and experts alike.
The other approach taken by student teams concentrated on rooftop farming potential. Urban Yield, by Michael Catalano, Shane McCabe, and Catalina Parra, emerges from a study on the economical and agricultural viability of several vegetables and growing techniques, with the goal of including the produce as a food alternative in Pratt’s cafeteria, housed in the same building. The final plan includes traditional crops in a visually compelling pattern, along with areoponic drip-irrigated towers; thus the project serves as a testing ground for quantitative analysis of rooftop agriculture. Students can literally see the source of their food as they eat in an auxilliary cafeteria converted from a classroom overlooking the green roof.
Fourth Story Farmstead, by Trang Dong, Brooke Mayer, and Kristen Wilke, is another urban agriculture laboratory, but one that concentrates on educational opportunities instead of production maximization. By utilizing the rooftop classroom as a community center, and devising programs from today, Fourth Story Farmstead becomes a holistic program that extends beyond the roof to affect surrounding commmunities on the ground and in their daily lives. Tours, classes ranging from gardening to cooking, and composting programs are provided; the program is expanded through evaluations and an expanding set of internships and volunteers, broadening the knowledge base of ufban agriculture in the neighborhood. The roof itself consists of plants that maximize sensory engagement, a chicken coop and “chicken cam”, and benches engaged with Sub Irrigated Planters (SIPs). Composting bins and tumblers on campus provide fresh humus to the farm.
By going the extra mile and making recommendations that build upon the initial green roof to be constructed atop North Hall, Pratt PSPD students have created a kit of design and programing pieces that enhances the ecological, economical, and social performance of a simple green roof. Hopefully future funding opportunities will allow green infrastructure projects to reach their full potential benefits to our cities, as suggested by these students.