Natalie Jeremijenko’s Design Revolution

Last week I had the pleasure of having my mind blown by a speech from Ms. Natalie Jeremijenko at a Lucid NYC event, a networking dinner that entertains with short presentations by big thinkers. Often I think the best solutions to environmental problems come from designers, and Jeremijenko has the distinct privilege of being an artist whose background spans biochemistry, physics and neuroscience. When solutions to giant problems are packaged through the mind of a designer, they’re easier digested by the public. She has a unique ability in making environmental solutions into concrete ideas and products that anyone could adapt. Additionally, Jeremijenko is dealing with issues in our own backyard, issues that affect New York City, but with solutions that could be implemented in any city in the U.S.

Here’s a look at some of the greatest projects she’s created so far through just a simple twist of modern design and science:

The Environmental Health Clinic

Visitors make an appointment and visit this NYU clinic similar to any medical facility. However, once they see a doctor they tell about a problem not just affecting them, but about their immediate environment. Once diagnosed, they leave with a prescription that can’t be filled at a drug store, but rather by actions to improve their surroundings. You can make an appointment on the website.

Farmacy

One thing any urban dweller is short on is space. A backyard garden is a luxury few know. However Farmacy turns any windowsill or outdoor ledge into farm terrain with an agbag, a bag of soil and seed that can grow any variety of greenery or edibles. It may just be the easiest form of urban gardening yet. Order an agbag kit online.

NoPark

Not only do these temporary parks provide much needed green space in a city, but they remind cars just where they can and cannot park. Situated in front of fire hydrants throughout the city, NoParks absorb storm water runoff with a carefully curated stretch of grass and moss. The result is fewer street puddles and richer soil for trees just yards away. And just like a real hydrant parking space, they’re available for parking just for emergency vehicles.

 A Vision for Long Island City

Jeremijenko’s latest show has her joining forces with fellow artists out to change the world: Rirkrit Tiravanija and Mary Miss, in order to better the environment in Long Island City, Queens at the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park. Over the decades, Long Island City has served as home to legendary artists, including celebrated sculptor Isamu Noguchi who created the namesake museum. But Long Island City is also home to factories, congestion, and traffic, as site of a vast network of companies that distribute food around New York. To counter the extreme exhaust, Jeremijenko has designed zip-lines running in-between buildings to help transport food with low carbon emission for LIC entities such as Fresh Direct and Tom Cat Bakery. An exercise program for residents involves climbing trees or hula-hooping with special circles that disperse wildflower seeds when swung. While anyone can now sign up for the exercise program, Jeremijenko is seeking volunteers to zip-line between Queens buildings, as well as funding to make the project become a reality. I’m looking forward to a future where urban zip-lining replaces auto transport where and whenever possible.

Check out Jeremijenko’s site for more inspiring projects including revolutionizing flight with wetlanding and getting personal with fowl through robotic geese.

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