CATALPA

Community Resiliency 
Scattered Site

Philadelphia, PA

Catalpa is a conceptual study for a climate-adapted urban development network.  The proposal takes its name from the Catalpa tree, a weedy species prevalent throughout Philadelphia and commonly viewed as a nuisance due to its organic refuse, aggressive propagation and ability to thrive in harsh environments.  This model views the species through a proactive lens -- physical resiliency, safe haven from the weather, dual-pollination (continual energy harvesting), locally available resource -- as an analogy for developing the vacant lots and building shells that also fill the city.  Catalpa examines how this replicable model can transform from a multigenerational resource center during “Ordinary Times” of clear skies and functioning infrastructure to a community ark during periods of “Disrupted Times” of increasingly extreme weather events. The study focuses on our ability to inventively transform neglected systems into cooperative opportunities for a regenerative future.

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