Cities For All

Honorable Mention

Local Forest Coalition

Xi Chen, Kongyun He, Michele Chen
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In this project, we address the role of global forest owners in constructing a reciprocal living between the forest and the city during the pandemic. 

The current global wood supply chain shows a jarring consumption and production disparity between different regions and countries. This inequitable forest extraction and distribution leads to the productivity degradation in prospective vegetation pattern shifts and natural disasters due to global climate change. The U.S. as the largest timber consumption country in the world, its attitude of protecting domestic resources with no effort in cutting down the consumption shifts the production pressure and natural resource degradation to other countries. While domestic wide, the tension between lumber demand and housing developments is still heating up, there is a need to reconnect the wood consumption to the source of production at a local scale.

The proposal -  Local Forest Coalition, ensures collaboration between forest owners and property owners for a common interest in managing the forest, constructing with timber, and reciprocating the labor done by the forest.

The design is grounded in East Boston, MA. By valuing the life cycle of the local forest and the environmental benefits of its renewable properties, we explore new ways of using timber in constructing a flexible urban habitation. We aim to localize the wood supply chain and densify the urban core by envisioning a new, collective form of living inserted in the existing urban voids of East Boston. By imagining the city not just as a landscape of consumption, but also as a place that is deeply interdependent on the landscape of production, we can design for a future of urban living while designing with the forest.

The flexible housing hubs offer multiple alternatives for urban living during the pandemic period. People are capable of using the open space and defining the safe public boundaries. The network of multifunctional wood transition centers and wood assembly shops will allow for more transparency in material processing. The well-integrated community neighborhoods will create a vital citizen engagement by inviting residents to decide what and how they wish to live, as they are involved in the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of living spaces. The format of reciprocal living creates a more intimate and interconnected coalition between forest production and urban consumption, and eventually, generates a post-dichotomy relationship among living agents.

urban design, architecture, landscape architecture
climate change, sustainability, social housing