The collaborative atmosphere Terreform ONE brought from MIT is how they’ve been able to merge experts from a variety of disciplines and do paradigm changing work. The “Bio City Map of 11 Billion” project exemplifies this collaborative spirit. The project used cartographers, urban planners, biologists, and architects to come up with a unique way for people to visualize the socio-ecological dilemma of population growth.
“We’re very much interested in thinking what the future city could look like because we want to give people an idea of potentialities. We do this by visualizing what some of these ideas could be and getting everyone on board believing in one mission of pushing ecology in our cities,” says Melanie Fassel, Co- Founder & Director of Design. The Cricket House project is a case in point. It’s an emergency shelter design that addresses the issue of food supply systems in an emergency. There are a lot of shelter designs out there, but what’s not taken into account by these designs is the issue of accessible, clean food. A UN report that came out a couple of years ago concluded bugs like crickets are a feasible means for solving the world’s hunger crisis. Terreform ONE adopted this idea and came up with a design that includes a cache of crickets. These can be ground into flour to make protein-rich food.
Terreform ONE, the only non-profit taking up residence at New Lab, thinks about ways biotechnology can answer the most pressing problems of urban design because of its own internal motivations, but also because that’s what companies like BASF hire them to do. Vivian Kuan, Terreform ONE’s Executive Director, explains that people approach them when “they’re looking for a way to visualize or come up with an idea to address a certain issue.” To this end, Terreform ONE is essentially an adaptive hybrid. It’s a non-profit think tank with a working laboratory. Terreform ONE’s body of work has become a rich inventory of the technologies that already exist in nature and the many ways we will reintegrate the city into the natural world.