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Decommissioned AirďŹ elds

Life in the Post Aerial Age

By

Wilfred Rodriguez M.Arch 2019


Decommissioned Airfields: Life in the Post Aerial Age A design research project presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Architecture in the Department of Architecture of the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island. by Wilfred Rodriguez 2019 Approved by Master’s Examination Committee:

Daniel IbaĂąez, Primary Advisor

Ryan McCaffrey, Secondary Advisor

Amy Kulper, Thesis Chair


DEDICATION The work in this book represents the culmination of 7 arduous and rewarding years of architecture school. Non of this would have been possible without the unconditional support, love, and encouragement of my girlfriend, my parents, my family, and friends. I dedicate this to you. This accomplishment is just as much yours as it is mine. THANK YOU, Wilfred Rodriguez


TABLE OF CONTENTS Global Problematique

1

Visual Narrative

3

Urban Problematique

5

Comparative Study

7

Cartographic Speculation

29

Final Intervention

31

Social Relations

33

Landscape Transect

35

Metabolic System

37

Accountability Deployment System

39

Dwelling Interventions

41

Forestal Dwelling

47

Urban Dwelling

49

Life in the Forest

51

Sources

53


“ If there is to be a ‘new urbanism’ it will not be based on the twin fantasies of order and omnipotence; it will be the staging of uncertainty: it will no longer be concerned with the arrangement of more or less permanent objects but with the irrigation of territories with potential. Since the urban is now pervasive, urbanism will never again be about the new, only about the ‘more’ and the ‘modified’. It will not be about the civilized, but about underdevelopment.” - Rem Koolhas, “Whatever Happened to Urbanism?,” Design Quarterly, 1995


GLOBAL PROBLEMATIQUE in¡fra¡struc¡ture The basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, and power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise.

Systems of obsolete infrastructure around urban density The relentless demand generated by urban and societal development over the last century has forced cities to come up with new ways of addressing issues of abandoned infrastructure. Cities are under constant transformation. Whether it is due to political, social, financial, or environmental factors, this complex matrix of forces can create a circumstance in which a site is no longer of value to a city and in many cases resulting in the abandonment of the infrastructure. As the urban scape is constantly adapting to new demands, systems of infrastructure begin to be absorbed or pushed to the periphery of cities rendering inefficient results and disrupting the flow of cities. This challenge presents an opportunity to address more effective ways in which adaptive reuse can offer cities a solution to abandoned infrastructure by promoting socioeconomic and environmental development specific to these sites.

1


Globalization

Infrastructure

Urban Density

Climate Change

Limited Natural Resources

2


VISUAL NARRATIVE Decommissioned Airfields:Life in the Post Aerial Age Can decommissioned airfields become a model of socio-ecological urbanization to trigger regional development? This project looks into the afterlife of airfields and proposes their adaptive reuse in the form of industrial forestal landscapes. This industrial forest is sustained by airlines purchasing hectares of biomass for the harvesting of wood in order to offset their carbon footprint. This in turn promotes sustainable urban development while enabling local economies and ecosystems to thrive and take part in the redevelopment of these landscapes, giving them social value and a sense of ownership. Airports constantly inhabit the periphery of cities, and yet they are so central to urban development. As these landscapes are rendered useless, they prove difficult to be re-connected to the urban fabric in part due to their social, political, economical, and environmental implications. In contrast, this project seeks to challenge said issues by evaluating how these large abandoned sites can redefine the relationship between land, people, and infrastructure.

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THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN OBSOLETE LANDSCAPES AND URBAN CONTEXT Throughout history the relentless demand generated by urban and societal development has forced cities to come up with new ways of addressing issues of abandoned infrastructure. Airports are not exempt from these demands and although they are so central to urban development they continue to live in the periphery of cities. These landscapes, when rendered useless, prove difficult to be connected to the urban fabric due to their social, political, economical, and environmental implications. At the same time, recent events related to climate change offer the potential to consider how these large abandoned sites can allow us to reconsider the relationship between land, people, and infrastructure.

“ If there is to be a ‘new urbanism’ it will not be based on the twin fantasies of order and omnipotence; it will be the staging of uncertainty: it will no longer be concerned with the arrangement of more or less permanent objects but with the irrigation of territories with potential. Since the urban is now pervasive, urbanism will never again be about the new, only about the ‘more’ and the ‘modified’. It will not be about the civilized, but about underdevelopment.” - Rem Koolhas, “Whatever Happened to Urbanism?,” Design Quarterly, 1995

4


URBAN PROBLEMATIQUE Tracing the expansion of the aviation industry exposes the global impact of an industry without boundaries. Currently there are around 5,000 airlines in the world. However, out of this total only 11 airlines are offering any type of carbon footprint offset program. These programs while beneficial as a marketing strategy for the airlines, do not truly benefit the environment. The main reason being that trees absorb the most CO2 during their growth stage. The ‘trees’ being purchased for carbon sequestration by these airlines are already matured trees, offering little to no carbon sequestration. This research exposes a lack of accountability for its adverse global impact and explores the potentials within this un-checked system to deploy a more sustainable solution in the redevelopment of abandoned airfields.

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1980

1985

1990

2000

2004

2008

2019

1 plane = 100 airlines

Out of only about 800 are commercially recognized

And only 11 of them offer some form of CO2 offset program

There is an estimated 5000 airlines in the globe.

WHAT CONNECTS CITIES ALSO DIVIDES THEM Air travel connects the globe. However, tracing the evolution of this industry exposes a system with a much larger impact in our world, an industry without boundaries of expansion, one with a lack of accountability for their global footpring. This research looks at unveiling the potentials within this unstable system of accountability to deploy a more sustainable resolution in the redevelopment of abandoned airďŹ elds.

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COMPARATIVE STUDY This comparative research looks at unveiling the potentials offered through the selected case studies to inform the proposal for the redevelopment of an abandoned airfield in the island of Puerto Rico. This proposal aims to connect private and municipal agencies to trigger social and environmental resiliency for the town of Ceiba. As parameters for critique the topics of social, environmental, and regulatory framework, will be used to raise both positive tactics of intervention and unresolved potentials within the case study projects.

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Abandoned Airfields Redeveloped Airfields

GLOBAL TREND_REDEVELOPED AIRFIELDS 8


9 Mariscal Sucre Int. Airport_Quito_ECU

Reykjavik Airport_Vatnsmyri_ISL


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Downsview Park_Toronto_CAN

Munich-Riem Airport_Munich_ DEU


From Runways to Greenways_Reykjavik

Airport

Location: Vatnsmyri_Iceland Competition: 2007 Firm: Lateral Office Adjacent to the center of Reykjavik, this decomisioned airport had been in use since World War II. The design by Lateral Office proposes converting the runways into three distinct programatic functions (recreation, learning, and production) to propel urban development. The east-west runway acts as an extension of the Oskjuhlid Hill forest connecting it to the waters edge focusing on farming. The north-south runway containing wetlands and hills will connect to the ecology of Hljomskalagardur park and lake, and the Nautholsvik thermal beach at the south. The northeast-southwest runway will serve as a recreational strip for the four new neighborhoods to be added to the site.

11


19

250ft

13

500ft

31

1000ft

01

12


Production

Recreation

Civic

13

13


Civic

n

io eat eR cr

Vehicular Flow

Prod 1500ft

ucti

on

3000ft

Access Solid Surface Water Permeable Surface Foliage

6000ft

Program

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Lake Park_Mariscal

Sucre International Airport

Location: Quito_Ecuador Competition: 2008 LCLA The design for this 106 hectares decommissioned airport located in the region of Quito in the Andes proposes the flooding of the old runway for the conception of a hydrology park. The aim of the project is to engage the occupant in natural processes that are often unrevealed in the urban environment by making use of the 3120 meters long runway as a linear landscape that mixes a remediation cycle with public activities.

This process is dispersed into six stages located throughout the runway: A_ Nine lakes that treat residual water of the park and adjacent buildings. B_ An open air aquarium that utilizes partially processed water from wetlands. C_ An aquatic flora botanical garden that uses water from the aquarium. D_ Conventional treatment plant filtrates water form botanical garden. E_ Treated water is used for public pools and thermal baths. F_ Water is used for irrigation and general park maintenance.

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16


A_ Wetlands B_ Aquarium C_ Aquatic Botanical Garden D_ Treatment Plant E_ Public Pools and Thermal Baths F_ Recreational Lake

E

F

17


1500ft 3000ft

Vehicular Flow

6000ft

Access Solid Surface Water Permeable Surface Foliage Program

18


Landscape Park_ Munich-Riem

Airport

Location: Munich_Germany Completed: 2006 Firm: Latitude Nord Serving both as a civil and as a military airfield throughout its long history the Munich-Riem Airport was closed down in 1992 as it was replaced by a new airport. Sustainability was the main goal for the city of Munich when the competition for the redevelopment of the airfield was announced. The winning entry by Latitude Nord creates a 400 meter wide band of open landscape and makes use of the existing orientation of the runway to bring airflow between the forests to the east and the city center. The inspiration for the design and sustainable tactic comes from the surrounding field patterns and local foliage. The design carefully arranges different densities and patterns of local trees to achieve a colder breeze in the summer into the city. The landscape park acts as a sustainable design that connects a new convention center for the city with its residential surroundings. It brings private and municipal entities together to create an efficient use of local environment.

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20


21

21


Vehicular Flow Access Solid Surface Water Permeable Surface Foliage Program

1500ft 3000ft

6000ft

22


Downsview Park_ Downsview

Airport

Location: Toronto_Canada Competition: 2000 Firm: OMA The design for this project came from the neglect towards the development of public spaces in the city of Toronto at the time. The project proposes to do more with less as it seeks identity through vegetal cluster rather than new building complexes. New clusters would be planted throughout time to create a matrix of vegetation that would offer a flexible landscape with undesignated areas for potential programs. The timeline for the project look at 3 stages in order to make it feasible for local agencies to achieve the project. The success of the proposal lies on its simplicity. It pushes for sustainable alternatives to generate public spaces without the need for a dense proposal that relies more on the private sector rather than local agencies.

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24


25


Vehicular Flow

1500ft 3000ft

Access Solid Surface Water Permeable Surface Foliage

6000ft

Program

26


Civic

1500ft

n

tio rea Rec

3000ft

Vehicular Flow

6000ft

Access Vehicular Flow

Prod 1500ft 3000ft

Access

Solid Surface

uctio

n

Water Permeable Surface Foliage Program

Solid Surface Water Permeable Surface Foliage

6000ft

Program

27

Reyjavik Airport, Vatnsmyri, Iceland

Lake Park_Quito, Ecuador

The runways become programmatic greenways to act as catalyst for urban development. [Production_Recreation_Civic]

Utilizes the runway as a spine for a hidrology park that incorporates leisure activities with local aquatic ecosystems.


Vehicular Flow Access Solid Surface Water Permeable Surface Foliage

Vehicular Flow

Program

1500ft 3000ft

1500ft 3000ft

Access Solid Surface Water

6000ft

Permeable Surface Foliage

6000ft

Program

Landscape Park_Munich, Germany

Downsview Park_Toronto, Canada

Reconfigures the landscape and utilizes local trees to enable airflows between adjacent forests and the city. It connects new commercial development with residential context by creating leisure spaces.

Uses vegetal clusters as a way to create an identity that changes overtime while being affordable and sustainable.

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CARTOGRAPHIC SPECULATION This cartographic analysis reveals the density of airfields in Puerto Rico, and island only 100mi x 35mi. Out of the 8 notated airfields only 3 are currently operational. While the 3 operational airports are adjacent to urban context, what becomes apparent is their consistent location along the coastal edge. This within the context of the island becomes an important factor for access, material flows, and environmental qualities. The site for intervention, also to serve as a model for the deployment of the smaller decommissioned airfields on the island is a 8,600 acre decommissioned naval base located on the east of the island.

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(BQN) Rafael Hernandez Airport 1947 Military Use 1973 Civilian Use

(PSE) Mercedita Airport 1939 Aerodome 1965 Civilian Use

(SJU) Luiz Munoz Marin Airport 1955

20° 66°

19°

19° 65°

67°

Site of Intervention Roosevelt Roads Naval Base 1957

(SJU) (BQN)

18° 66°

(PSE)

0

(Vega Baja Auxiliary Airdome)

(Loosey Field)

(Salinas Auxiliary Airdome)

10

20

40 Miles

(X64)

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FINAL INTERVENTION Roosevelt Roads Naval Base_ Site Location: Ceiba_Puerto Rico Closed: 2004 Type: Military This project uses the decommissioned Roosevelt Roads Naval Base located in Ceiba, Puerto Rico as a site for intervention. This naval base built in 1943 as a result of the WWII became the largest US naval base outside of continental territory with 8,600 acres of land, and as such it played an immense role in the economic development of the town of Ceiba. The project proposes the implementation of an industrial forest as a catalyst for environmental, social, economic, and urban development. The industrial forest is sustained by airlines purchasing hectares of biomass for the harvesting of wood in order to offset their carbon footprint. This in turn promotes sustainable urban development while enabling local economies and ecosystems to thrive and take part in the redevelopment of these landscapes, giving them social value and a sense of ownership.

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25

750ft 1500ft

3000ft

07 32


SOCIAL RELATIONS Since its closure in 2004 the naval base has resulted in the severe economic decline of the area. This social relations diagram investigates the existing conditions of the town of Ceiba, Puerto Rico. As nearly 81 percent of the towns population resides in the vicinity of the airfield, the site can serve as the economic and urban development catalyst to reset the area. As a result the project proposes a 3 stage redevelopment for the site. A_ Eco-tourism B_ Forestal Housing C_ Large Scale Urban Development

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81% of the town of Ceiba’s population is concentrated in this area.

Transportation produces 11MMtCO2e in Puerto Rico.

Aviation accounts for 2% of global CO2 emissions and for 12% of CO2 emissions from the transportation sector.

Average age: 40 years old For decades the highway has been the divider between Ceiba and the military airfield.

Mixed Use

Most commercial activity comes from corner stores and small markets.

Average airplane produces 53 tons of CO2 per air mile

As a result of the treaty, decommisioned airfields are to be converted into infrastructural forrests in which airlines can purchase for tree harvesting.

Residential Urban

Residential Rural Highway 53

Through a new treaty negociated between airlines and environmental agencies, airlines are subject to plant x amount of tree hectares to offset their increasing carbon footprint.

Ceiba: Total Population of 13,631

Natural Reserve

Convertion of the military base into a infrastructural forrest designated for wood harvesting and CO2 sequestering.

New capital from the infrastructural forrest serves as an economic catalyst for new urban development.

1 heactare of forest biomas can sequester up to 500 tons of CO2.

The urban development becomes an extension of the towns fabric, merging the decomisssioned military airfield with the town, while also attracting new groups to the area. The urban development occurs in phases. These phases revolve around the cycle of the forest growth.

Phase I introduces ecotourism within existing natural systems for leisure activities. It is about achieving more with less.

Phase II capitalizes on the econmic revenue from ecotourism and introduces commercial and educational ammenities to the site.

Phase III large scale housing along with civic ammenities are introduced to the site.

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LANDSCAPE TRANSECT While the site offers extensive infrastructure already in place the intervention can be better understood through the lens of landscape architect Ian Mcharg and his book “Design with Nature� where design when guided by a deep understanding of the potentials within our landscapes can lead to sustainable urban developments. This is to say landscape informs development rather than development altering landscapes. In this manner development while still driven both by logic and design can serve as a medium for an organized yet organic deployment of cities and their metabolisms. In this site 5 conditions are identified out of which 4 become sites of testing and exploration for the project. -First is the rural context, it is where 94% of the towns population lives, clearly divided from the naval base by the highway infrastructure. -Second is the forestal buffer. This areas located at the intersection between higher terrain and valley offers the potential of acting as the merger between the existing town and the new development. -Third is the airfield, located at the valley of the site offers existing infrastructure and a sustainable layout that works with ventilation patterns and visual access. -Fourth is the wetlands, a natural reserve containing over 24 native species can accommodate eco-tourism and ecological programs. -Fifth is the coastal edge. This edge presents the opportunity for eco-tourism and sustainable dwelling after environmental catastrophes like hurricanes as it has easy access to wind and water.

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Beach

Natural Conservation

Open Grass Fields

Decommissioned Runways

Pastoral Landscape

Natural Conservation

Rural

Highl

and

Forest

al Airfiel

d

Pasto

ral

Comm

ercial

Resid

Man Ma

de

Wetla nd

Buffe

r

ential

s

Open

Natur al Co

Field

nserv

Grass Fie

lds

ation Trans

Grass Fie

lds

Trees

Runw

porta tion

ay & Ta

Trees

xi Way

Coast

s

Grass Fie

lds Natur al Co

Existin

nserv

g

Living

ation

n

Wate r Natur al Co

Mang

roves

Produc tio

n

ation

Po

Recre ation

Extend Living _ Recreation Basketball Court Community Center Food Hydrology: Water Collection Landscape: Playground Area Nature Trails

Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling

Living _ Small Housing Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Outdoor Recreation

nserv ation Recre ation

Harness

se

U

La

Natur al Co

r

ve

nd

o C

La

Living _ Agriculture Agriculture Technology Lab Greenhouse Energy Production

Landscape: Outdoor Education Amphitheatre

nd

grov es

ation

Living _ Institutional Environmental Education Auditorium

Forestal

Man

Conse rv

Educate

io at

ul

p

nserv

Living

Hydrology: Water Collection Airfield Living _ Dense Housing Residential Civic Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Recreation Production

Landscape: Vegetation Growth Living _ Aquatic Hydrology Museum Energy Production Hydrology: Treatment Plant Landscape: Hydrology Park

Wetlands Living _ Ecotourism Temporary Stay Research Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Trails View Towers

Coast Integrate Living _ Ecotourism Dewlling Hydrology: Water Collection Water Desalination Landscape: Nature Trails

Living _ Ecotourism Temporary Stay Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Trails

Living _ Mix Use Office Commercial Civic Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Recreation

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METABOLIC SYSTEM The processes of wood harvesting within this decommissioned airfield marks the first step in leveling airplane CO2 emissions and the accountability that the aviation industry should have in these landscapes. Through the steps of planting, transplanting, harvesting, sorting and storing, and processing; the trees enter a second life in the form of sustainable construction. This process while general in deployment becomes specific to regions allowing local economies and ecosystems to thrive and take part in the development of this landscapes, giving them social value and sense of ownership, connecting landscape to people and urbanism.

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Airliner Avg. Cruising Altitude: 34,000ft

53 CO2 tons per air mile

1943 Naval Base Opening (WWII)

2014 Decomission of airďŹ eld

2017 Opened to Public

2020 Territorial Reset

2021 Ecotourism Park

2046 Sustainable Development

2071 Timber Harvest Cycle

1 heactare of forest biomass can sequester up to 500tons of CO2

Collect

Transplanting

Construction

Harvest

Wood harvesting cycles promotes sustainable developmen and secures carbon footprint offset into the future

Planting

Nominal Lumber Growing Process

PLANTING

HARVESTING

STORING

PROCESSING

CONSTRUCTION

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ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM DEPLOYMENT The axonometric drawing to the right depicts the distribution of biomass hectares per airline as part of the accountability system. A total of 385 hectares are identified as potential sites for wood harvesting and each hectare of biomass can sequester up to 500 tons of CO2 emissions.

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40

d Woo

ssing Proce

Circulation and Site Layout

Delta

United Airlines

Southwest Airlines

Other

l

ercia

Com m

American Airlines

jetBlue

Civic

Civic

l

Recr eatio na

New layout for the redevelopment of the decommissioned Roosevelt Roads Naval airďŹ eld proposes the deployment of an industrial forest as an agent for socio-ecological urbanization resulting in regional development.

TOTAL ~ -1,480 NY to LA roundtrips

385 hectares x 500 tons CO2 = -192,500 tons of CO2

1 Hectare of Biomass sequesters up to 500 tons CO2

NY to LA rountrip produces ~ 130 tons of CO2

A total of 385 hectares are identiďŹ ed as potential sites for wood harvesting.

Alternate harvesting patterns allow for biomass rotation and diversity of wood species.

Forestal biomass distribution arrangement per airline occupancy in Puerto Rico.

Ravine Forest acts as a buffer between the industrial forest and the urban development.

nal eatio Recr


DWELLING INTERVENTIONS The production of these material models is the initial exploration representing abstract results constructed from the harvested wood, informed by their role within the previous transect section and the wood harvesting process. Through heliomorphic studies and contextual analysis each of the interventions aim at becoming extensions of the landscapes and evidence of a feedback loop between the city in the skies and the land they used to occupy at some point. The production of each of these interventions promotes vernacular practices of building to the region with advance and yet simple sustainable practices that educate the occupant.

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42


Program: Living _ Eco-tourism Temporary Stay Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Trails

43

43

COASTAL DWELLING


Program: Living _ Ecotourism Temporary Stay Research Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Trails View Towers

WETLANDS DWELLING

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Program: Living _ Small Housing Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Outdoor Recreation

45

45

FORESTAL DWELLING


Program:

Program:

Living _ Dense Housing Residential Civic

Living _ Mix Use Office Commercial Civic

Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling Landscape: Recreation Production

Hydrology: Water Collection Water Recycling

URBAN DWELLING

Landscape: Recreation

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FORESTAL DWELLING The forestal dwelling axon depicts the metabolic system at work, highlighting the relationship between the housing development, the natural ravine forest, and the industrial forest. Forestal dwelling represents the second life of the trees in the form of sustainable construction. This houses become CO2 storage tanks and a new space of dwelling within the new urban fabric.

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48


URBAN DWELLING The urban dwelling axon depicts a more distant future, one happening several harvest cycles after the deployment of the industrial forest. In here the runways are populated with civic amenities and different types of forestal landscapes; the natural ravine forest, the industrial forest, and the wind power forest. Systems of irrigation, water collection and agriculture are also deployed promoting autonomous and sustainable housing development.

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50


LIFE IN THE FOREST The forest becomes the life of the site. What once existed as a landscape of tension, inaccessible to the rest of the town of Ceiba is now a place of socio-ecological urbanization, a land of production, a restored landscape that belongs to the people of Ceiba, Puerto Rico.

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SOURCES Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age Sonja Dumpelmann & Charles Waldheim Design with Nature Ian L. McHarg New Geographies, 06: Grounding Metabolism Daniel Ibanez & Nikos Katsikis New Geographies, 08: Island Daniel Daou & Pablo Perez-Ramos Pamphlet Architecture 33: Islands and Atolls Luis Callejas Pamphlet Architecture 35: Going Live, From States to Systems Pierre Belanger Wood Urbanism: From the Molecular to the Territorial Daniel IbaĂąez, Jane Hutton, & Kiel Moe

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Profile for Wilfred Rodriguez

Decommissioned Airfields: Life in the Post Aerial Age  

This project looks into the afterlife of airfields and proposes their adaptive reuse in the form of industrial forestal landscapes. This ind...

Decommissioned Airfields: Life in the Post Aerial Age  

This project looks into the afterlife of airfields and proposes their adaptive reuse in the form of industrial forestal landscapes. This ind...

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