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Environmental Design and Foundation Faculty Katie O'Meara Receives an Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects

The student award honors her final studio project, 'MUMBAI: Infrastructure as Architecture'

Posted 10.05.09 by MICA Media Relations

Katie O'Meara, Urban Paths

CHICAGO--The American Society of Landscape Architects presented MICA's Environmental Design and Foundation faculty member Katie O'Meara an honor award for her final studio project, MUMBAI: Infrastructure as Architecture, on Sept. 21 during the annual meeting in Chicago. More than 300 entries were submitted for this prestigious award.

O'Meara developed the project during her final semester of the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania. O'Meara received the award with her faculty advisor Anuradha Mathur from the University of Pennsylvania department of landscape architecture.

O'Meara describes MUMBAI: Infrastructure as Architecture: "To develop this project, I traveled to Mumbai, India, the second most populous city in the world, where almost 60 percent of the 14 million inhabitants live in slums. Studying a range of conditions within the city and balancing questions of ecology, social welfare and the structure of the city, I was determined to develop a scheme that improved opportunities for all three. The infrastructure is in critical condition. Lack of an adequate water system is a constant threat to public health. And the mangroves are shrinking, an environmental risk that leaves the underserved of the population even more vulnerable to flooding and water shortages.

To complete MUMBAI: Infrastructure as Architecture, I studied two vast watershed areas bordering the city and the Sanjay Gandhi national forest. I then outlined a plan to capture and hold monsoon rains, improve access to water for over 25,000 residents and create a water system flowing through a series of new parks, plazas and public baths culminating in a series of agricultural and wetlands reconstruction areas. All of these public spaces are developed along the seasonal water-flow route to provide new utilities, and recreational and commercial opportunities in this densely populated, ecologically fragile urban area."

The project can be seen in the MICA Faculty Exhibition, through Sunday, Oct. 11, and on the American Society of Landscape Architects' Web site here.

Image caption: Digital tracing of urban paths re-aligned along a central flow from the village at the base of the basalt quarries to the footpaths among the mangroves (detail). This project was developed in the Mumbai studio taught by Anuradha Mathur at the University of Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.