Awards & Honors

MLA-Invented “Biopoly” Showcased at Biodesign Challenge

The 2017-18 Master of Landscape Architecture first-year studio explored the microscopic realm of the body and the city by finding the commonality between gut flora and soil bacteria. As a team, they compiled a proposal for a new multiform infrastructure for New York City that will build a robust microbiome. The class developed five infrastructural tools that were then animated by translation into a board game — Biopoly — that was a top entrant in the 2018 Biodesign Challenge.

Biopoly acknowledges opportunities for connected, microbial infrastructure by applying a micro lens to macro decision-making. Through playing Biopoly, a new urban framework is introduced that connects opportunities for microbial diversity. By investing in new, biologically receptive design interventions, players can catalyze change across Biopolis to create a more holistic city that welcomes microbial life and the uncertainty that comes with a widened urban biome. The Biopoly team was advised by Professors Denise Hoffman Brandt and Matthew Seibert.

The Biodesign Challenge partners university art and design classrooms with scientists to imagine future applications of biotech; hundreds of students from around the world participate in the science fair-style competition. The program culminates each year at the Museum of Modern Art, where the top teams showcase their projects. In addition to the MoMA presentation, Biopoly was part of the Nature/Postnature exhibit at Parsons in June and selected for the preexhibit at the Barcelona Landscape Architecture Biennial in September. Also in September, the team led a round of Biopoly at Biology Game Night at Genspace in Brooklyn.