Resilient urban energy systems

Using computational design techniques to plan a net-zero-energy city under different densification scenarios.

How can we leverage a blend of energy modeling and computational design to plan a dense city with built-in climate resiliency?

Climate change is here and our cities are more vulnerable than ever. At the same time, new analytical tools empower us to simulate different urban growth scenarios at scale. The hypothesis is that we can use these new analytical tools that combine energy modeling and computational design to plan resilient, net-zero-energy cities.

This project was developed with David Birge during my time at the MIT Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. It uses the Meadowlands region in NJ as a case study to illustrate how a new city of 50,000 residents can be planned and powered exclusively using local energy generation and storage systems.

This body of work was part of MIT’s submission for the Rebuild by Design competition that proposed resilient urban planning interventions for Hurricane Sandy-affected regions in NY and NJ.

MIT’s submission, informed by the research presented here, received a $150 million CDBG-DR grant.

This was my very first project at the intersection of design and energy. It’s very special and significant to me, because it inspired me to pursue a career in climate.