Moneerah Alajaji '20 MSAUD Columbia GSAPP

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I’m part of the dirt... I’m part of the water... I’m part of the air...

This work is dedicated to our planet earth, may we all design concisely for better environment.


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ReciproCity: Water Urbanism in Addis Ababa Urban Design Studio III

Whats on Your Plate? Food As Knowledge Urban Design Studio II


(Re+Pro) Development


Cotton Kingdom


Graphic Architecture Project: Graphic Narratives


Reading New York Urbanism

Urban Design Studio I

History and Theory Seminar

Design Elective

Urbanism and Videography Seminar

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Governance Structure

Shared Income


Agreement of Unity

Urban Design Studio III

Agriculture as a Practice

Family Connections

Site Peacock Park, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ecological Services

Professors Kate Orff, Geeta Mehta, Thad Pawlowski, Julia Watson, Adriana Chavez, Dilip Da Cunha, Lee Altman, and Fitse Gelaye

Under Maintained

Strong Social Network

Teammates Mary Allen, Nikita Kumar, and Anai Perez

Under Utilized


Peacock Park Development Pressure Uneven Work/ Resident Population

Low Quality Products

Lack of Infrastructure

Informal Housing

Low Income Need for Basic Services


Need for Clean Water

This studio examined regional histories and learned about future resilience and adaptation strategies to develop a productive critique and offer Addis Ababa specific proposals that will advance its resilience. The goal is to link social, economic, and environmental prerogatives along a transect of transformation and project alternative futures of the city. Underlying all of the work is a focus on the power of water to shape equitable cities of the future. Peacock Park is a unique prominent site in the heart of Addis Ababa. The site is home to the Kebena Bulbula Farmers cooperative that currently practices large scale urban agriculture. This site is defined by its relationship between two rivers, which allows the coop to actively work the land, producing agriculture in a symbiotic system with the ever changing river.

No Ownership of Land

Strengths and Fragilities

Learning from this unique site, the redevelopment of Addis Ababa’s rivers should not be that of a large scale infrastructural project but rather through a smaller more localized system. Addis has the potential to achieve its goal of becoming a world class city not through imported models, but by learning from the legacy of what currently exists. Structures, such as this cooperative, are a legacy worth preserving. By using cooperatives as a unit of change, a variety of co beneficial relationships can be formed between the government, the residents, the land, and its rivers, overall engaging a symbiotic relationship of reciprocity. This system allows the cooperative to enter into a new relationship, one where they share a variety of benefits, and becoming a more powerful actor.

Road and River Threshold

Field and Park Threshold

River and Field Threshold

Housing Cooperatives Multimodal Transportation Corridor Commercial Corridor

Existing Site and Location of Interventions

Growing Habitation


Working Landscapes

Public Gathering Space

Public Waterfront Access River Stewards

Woven Working Landscape

Agricultural Production Rotating Public Space Ecological Services Irrigation System

Gradient of Plantings for Water Filtration Non-Edible Crops Edible Crops

Bioremediation Holding Pond Permanent River Dam

The Living River

Expansion and Weaving Into the City

Program Catalog

Growing Habitation Housing Structure



Coop Control of Space

Pool ‘Resources’ to buy: - Some Cash - Stewardship Credits - Education Credits

Family Network from the Cooperative

Government Built Housing

1. Establish Grid -Three by two plots per coop -Four to five households/family groups per coop


Growing Habitation Site

2. Plot Division -Two plots for housing -Two plots for future commercial space -Two plots for dedicated common space

3. Government Built Housing -Housing structure built by the government -Other four plots to be democratically built by the coop

Cooprative Housing Structure

River Stewardship


Growing Habitation Moment

Incremental Housing

Economic Corridor

Program Diagrams

Absorption and Filtration

Increased in Biodiversity


The Living River Site

River Stewards

Productive Canopy

System Diagram Ecological Services

Kebena River

Agriculture Land

Peacock Park

Agriculture Land

Bantiketu River

Kebena River

Rotational Space

Peacock Park

Rotational Space

Bantiketu River

Shrubs Sesban

Kebena River


Working Landscapes Site

Edible Crops

Rotational Space

Koba Ensete

Acacia Decurrens

Peacock Park

Koba Ensete

Rotational Space

Shembeko: Bamboo

Bantiketu River

Weaving Multi-canopy Structure



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Working Landscapes Moment

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Forming Rotational Spaces


WHATS ON YOUR PLATE? Urban Design Studio II

Site Newburgh, Orange County, NY. Professors Kaja KĂźhl, Anna Dietzsch, Jerome Haferd, Liz McEnaney, Justin Moore, Shachi Pandey, Raafi Rivero, David Smiley, and Dragna Zoric Teammates Vasanth Mayilvahanan, Annie Wu, and Wei Zhang

Working in the Hudson Valley, the Studio operates at the regional scale and asks students to enter the discourse of urbanization beyond cities to engage unevenly dispersed socio-spatial ecosystems at multiple scales. The Hudson Valley, a region defined by multiple systems, histories, and geographies, has deep connections to New York City, the global metropolis at its southern edge. The region is understood as the integration of settlements, modes of production and consumption, and the topographic and biological contexts in which they take place. The studio explores the region’s rural/urban socio-spatial ecosystems as the site for intervention to address the global climate crisis.


Fast Food in Public Schools

Despite having many farms, fresh produce in these counties are not widely available due to their high production costs. Lack of nutritious food, easy access to fast food joints, and cheap prices of meat in grocery stores and supermarkets, create an unsustainable food cycle. These issues magnify significantly in areas like Newburgh, which has a diverse young population with school children making up for a third of the population. Therefore, there is a need to restructure the food system to reduce significant carbon emissions by providing access to quality food, changing the current meaty diet and creating awareness by educating the children for the future.

Food Systems Meat and Dairy is responsible for account for 25% of carbon 14.5% of the emissions carbon emissions

First U.S. case of mad cow disease Publication of dietary guidelines-associated health impacts Meat crisis due to decrease in major cow feed-anchovies Policies viewing fast food as cheaper alternatives to develop low-income areas 1,000th McDonald’s restaurant opens SBA subsidized fast food chains in food desert areas

Newburgh enlarged city school district 1st McDonald’s restaurant opens

Population 28,444 Poverty Rate 31.2% Average Age 27.9 Singles Rate 28,444 Unemployment Rate 8%

Per capita availability of boneless trimmed meat/ lbs per year

K-12 Students 10,745

Public School Locations Food Desert Zone 0%-27% Students Having Free/ Reduced-Price Lunch 28%-46% Students Having Free/ Reduced-Price Lunch 47%-95% Students Having Free/ Reduced-Price Lunch


Hudson Valley Site Map

History of Diet Change

Satellite Schools Stakeholders: National Funding USDA National School Lunch Program

High School 3217 (Two Schools)

Central School Kitchen

Newburgh Free Academy North High School 3217 (Two Schools)

Newburgh Free Academy

State Funding USDA Farm to School Grant Program (At Least 51% Produce Within State)



National Funding USDA National School Lunch Program


State Funding USDA Farm to School Grant Program (At Least 51% Prodoce within State)

Gams Tech Magnet School

Earth Institute Columbia Univeristy Hudson Valley Foof Hub Initiative

Local Farms Stakeholders: Local NGO For Farmers Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition USDA Intitiative to Provide Fundings Know Your Farmer

K-5 512

Horizon On the Hudson

South Middle School


Middle School



Cornell Co-op extention Orange County to develop the kitchen Local partistioners to help Employment for the Community Orange County Economic Development

Central Kitchen Satellite Schools Population Density Intervention Area Truck Route


Newburgh Siteplan

Communal Dining SNAP benefits for the community to buy food

Educational Garden

Children Students during school time

Downning Park Planning Committee

Calvary Presbyterian Church USDA Farmers Market Local Food Promotion

Community during Holidays - CACFP USDA Summer Food Service Programs (State Level)


System Reconstruction - Program Diagram

Learning Garden

Community Garden Grocery Market

Health Library

Green Roof Central Location

Green Roof

Market/Garden Unloading Area

Welcome Center Multifunctional Dining Hall

Community Garden

Walkin Storage Drive-Through Market

Learning Garden

Satellite Module

Satellite Module

Satellite Module

Community Dining

K-5 Dining

Corridor Learning Garden

Food Lab


Dining Space Central Kitchen Learning Garden Wet Storage Packaging Space Community Circulation Student Circulation Truck Circulation


Site Axon

Exploded Axon


Multifunctional Dining Hall training training

Dining Grocery Pickup Educational Gardening Culinary Training Weekend Program


Drive-through Market

Seasonal Diagram

Student Dining in the Afternoon

Community Dining at Night


Multifunctional Dining Hall

Roof Garden Kitchen

5-K Dining Hall Corridor


Learning Garden


Central Location

Unloading Area

Satellite Module

Satellite Module

Satellite Module

Grocery Market Learning Garden

Entrance Greenhouse

Food Lab

Walkin Storage

Dining Dining

Learning Garden Entrance

Dining Space Central Kitchen Learning Garden Community Circulation Student Circulation Truck Circulation


Site Axon

Exploded Axon


Exterior Rendering


(PRE + PRO) RE-DEVELOPMENT Urban Design Studio I

Site Jersey City, New Jersey, NJ. Professors Tricia Martin, Nans Voron, Hayley Eber, Sagi Golan, Quilian Riano, Austin Sakong, and Shin-pei Tsay. Teammates Alvi Rahman Khan and Kunal Mokasdar

Resilient Redevelopment

Activation of Public Realm

Today, Jersey City has 33 percent of its area under redevelopment. This gives us the chance to reimagine the city and the way we construct it. The city is growing, and its growth is at a rapid pace. It’s accommodating more and more people, optimizing the available floor area. Multiple sites in Jersey City are marked as redevelopment zones by the city’s planning department The majority of the redevelopment clusters are concentrated around Jersey City’s Downtown, Journal


Project Goals

Square, and Newport waterfront. We are proposing a set of strategies addressing this development. This set of guidelines overlays sectionally on the existing planar zoning, encouraging and supporting resiliency on new development throughout the current and future floodplains and introducing resilient temporary programs in the ground level. The programs are driven by the needs of the users to improve the current streetscape. Through these strategies, we hope to achieve resilient built forms with inclusive public spaces.

30% Redevelopment Zone


65% Increase in Population



50% Vulnerable Areas Stormwater Management

Percolation Pit

Increase Permeability

Ground Modulation

Temporary Programs

Public Space Network

Interactive Streetscape

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+ Tax Incentives

Opening Up the Ground Floor


Public Transit Redevelopment Zone Green space Underutilized Green Space


Jersey City Site Map

Tools and Techniques

Light Rail

100 Year Flood Plane

Jersey Avenue

NJ Transit

Underutilized Green Space

Martin Boulevard

Redevelopment Site


Holland Tunnel

50 Year Flood Plane

Site A Lackwana Terminus

Redevelopment Site

16th Street

18th Street

Grove Street

Redevelopment Zone

Martin Boulevard

Hamilton Park 10 Year Flood Plane Site B Historical District Palisade

NJ Transit Redevelopment Site

Developed Area

Site C 40

Site Axon

Existing Conditions

Permissible Height

Water Collection Area

Additional Density Roof Garden

Extension to Streetscape

Vacated Ground Floor

Low Point

Pocket Park

High Point Rehabilitation Space

Flood Resilient Programs

Low Point

Permissible Height

High Point

Roof Garden

Additional Density

Rain Garden Flood Resilient Programs Pocket Park Water Management Tank

Controlled Vegetation

Extension to Streetscape

Recreational Space

Vacated Ground Floor

High Point Public Park/Farm

Additional Density Roof Garden

Permissible Height Stepped Framing Low Point


Public Market

Vacated Ground Floor

Extension to Streetscape Flood Resilient Programs

Iterative Development

Permissible Height Additional Density

Roof Garden

Roof Garden

Public Park/Farm

Vacated Ground Floor

Flood Resilient Programs Public Open Space


Extension to Streetscape

Rain-Shine Scenerio


COTTON KINGDOM History and Theory Seminar

Site Claiborne, Monroe County, AL Professor Sara Zewde Teammate Hugo Bovea Garcia

Watch the Animation Here:

In 1852, the New York Daily Times commissioned the thirty one year old Frederick Law Olmsted to conduct an immersive research journey through the Southern slave states. The country was headed toward civil war, and the paper dispatched young Olmsted for his ability to reveal the cultural and environmental qualities of landscape in a narrative voice. Today, landscape architecture, urban design, and planning—disciplines Olmsted helped to shape—


Booming Commercial Street Scene

continue to grapple with the economic, political, and ecological conditions rooted in systems he documented so vividly 165 years ago. This seminar investigated the relationship between major contemporary issues in urban discourses with the documented conditions of cities in Olmsted’s 1861 book, Journeys and Explorations in the Cotton Kingdom. Also, it positions Olmsted’s journey not only as source material, but also as methodological proposition, in reflection on the significance and methods of research and representation in design practice.

1830s - “Cotton is the King” Cotton Region (Black Belt) Soil Fertility


Geological Layers

High influence in soil fertility


1860s - Civil War


The Civil War was one of the main drivers in Claiborne’s downturn, and the abolition of slavery severely altered the cotton economy, leaving plantions without labor workers, which resulted in an economic recession for the city.

Ideal Conditions for Cotton Crops

1860s - Civil War Area Lost by Confederacy 1863 1864 1865 Battlefields of Alabama

1862 - Railroads Act

In addition to that, the construction of the Louisville and Nashville Railroads bypassed the town on both sides of the Alabama River, which, combined with the previous events, caused a dramatic decline in its population.

1862 - Railroads Act Louisville and Nashville Railroads

Bypassed Claiborne on both sides of the Alabama River

1865 - Slavery Abolished

Cotton Region (Black Belt)

Cotton economy severely affected by lack of labor

1873 - Yellow Fever Outbreak Counties severely affected by the Yellow Fever Outbreak

Claiborne’s population decreased to 350 people and continued to decline

1880s - Claiborne Ghost Town

Today, Claiborne is largely abandoned but the area is still surrounded by cotton plantations due to the industrialization of cotton in the 1950s. Some of the issues inherited from the antebellum rural Alabama, such as social inequality and major public health problems, still persist up until today.


1880s - Claiborne Ghost Town 2020 - Rural Alabama

Severe health issues Lack of infrastructure

Bell’s Landing Claiborne Alabama River Mobile

Cotton Kingdom, Then & Now

Claiborne Alabama:

Claiborne became one of two major shipping points in Monroe County because it provided access to staple and luxury goods from Mobile for nearby cities and towns. As a sign of Claiborne's importance to the cotton trade in Alabama, William Locklin constructed Alabama's first Eli Whitney-designed cotton gin in 1817 in Claiborne. When Frederick Law Olmsted visited Claiborne, he was impressed by the dynamic town and its relationship to the river. Also a specific scene of how the slaves were exporting the cotton by throwing it down an incline without affecting their value to the platation owner and how less of a value of the free Irish men have.

Cotton Journey

Bell’s Landing was a major shipping point that provided access the Alabama Rive providing the area with nesseccary products.


Cotton Incline, slaves would drop the cotton bails from the top to be received by Irish men at the bottom.

Bell’s Landing Alabama’s Major Shipping Points Claiborne Alabama was an important shipping port for cotton and trading center throughout the 1850s.


Movement of Steamboats was sign of Claiborne's importance to the cotton trade in Alabama, ships would travel to Claiborne.

Alabama River

Mobile (Port of entry - exit)

Gulf of Mexico


Alabama River is formed by the Tallapoosa and Coosa rivers, which unite about 6 miles north of Montgomery.

The Mobile Port was a significant entery point to the Alabama river from the Gulf of Mexico.

Fort Claiborne was worked by the Irish men who would receive the cotton bails by slaves and load it on the ships.

Visual Literary Analysis




Professors Michael Rock and Whitney Dow





Site New York, NY, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia




Individual Work













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How do we tell, and how do we read, stories? The answers to those questions reveal essential aspects of narrative, the way parts can stand for wholes, the distinction between mood and plot, the difference between things that happen in sequence and things that happen simultaneously, and the way details reveal truths. We will investigate those issues through careful reading and watching, but most importantly, by making. In this class we aimed to look at multiple aspects of narrative: both how we tell the story of an architectural


Addis Ababa History Timeline

project and how thinking about narrative informs the design process. The intention is that Graphic Narratives is an extremely practical class, the tools you acquire should be immediately applicable to problems of presentation and documentation of the individuals work. Simultaneously, we hope that through practicality we can investigate the structure of narrative itself in precise and profound ways that will influence the way individuals think about making design.


Workflow Filmstrip


READING NEW YORK URBANISM Urbanism and Videography Seminar Site Hoboken, New Jersey. Professors Cassim Shepard and Jesse Hirakawa Teammates Nikita Kumar and Sophie Lee

Reading New York Urbanism is a seminar that introduces urban design students to New York City as a laboratory of historical experiments in both designing and understanding the urban environment. The goal of the seminar is to arm students with the observational and representational tools to be able to “read” the city and the multiple forces that influence its physical form and social experience and to represent these forces through documentary video.


Documentation of Different Fabrics

The class explores specific places throughout three districts: Jersey City/Hoboken, NJ; Long Island City, Queens; and Sunset Park, Brooklyn to analyze how different actors—writers, artists, designers, real estate developers, government agencies—have interpreted, represented, or intervened in these sites over time. We have focused on Garden Street Farmers Market in Hoboken to document and understand how open public space can act as a community gathering area.

Im Dylan from Brooklyn, NY.

Im Evan from Jersey City, NJ.

Im Samantha from Hoboken, NJ.

Im Connor from Long Island, NY.

COME-unity: Rethinking the Urban Square, is a short documentary that talks about Garden Street Farmers Market and how activates an urban square. Watch COME-unity the full short video at this link. 58

Garden Street Farmers Market

Community and Products Diagram

Our oatmeal is locally sourced we work with a local farm, very dellious and healthy.

Garden Street Farmers Market 14th St & Garden St, Hoboken, NJ Saturdays 9AM-2PM Jun - Dec Is that cheese can we try some?

Its oatmeal try it!

Picking up veggies?

Im into healthy holistic eating so I love coming here, everything is local and fresh.

Sustainability to this community is to eat locally, eating closely to where food is grown and to be able to see and try the food encourages the area to be more environmentally friendly.

I like how this market fosters community gatherings and supports local businesses

Sit down the show is starting soon..

Successful day! Cant wait to come back and sell more pickles.

The market is the market because of the people, this area comes to life on saturdays.

Its a hot day but people are still coming to around to pick-up their supplies for the rest of the week and to enjoy some chilled natural drinks.


Lets support local farmers

The plaza is usually unused during the week but the residents are happy use this space as a resource on weekends.

Comic Strip of COME-unity

Thank you Columbia GSAPP for the opportunity, for the friends, for the memories, for the late nights, for the laughter, and especially for coffee. Congrats Class of 2020!


255 West 94th St, New York, NY, 10019