• Credit: Terreform 1

Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova founded the Brooklyn, N.Y–based nonprofit Terreform 1 on the premise of bringing together science and the built environment, ecology and urbanism. "We have a new model: the socioecological condition. It's part cultural, part science, half and half," says Joachim. "It is a great way to think about solving the problems that man has created." The scope of a Terreform 1 project is often as big as the man-made problem at hand. For instance, the proposal New York 2106: Self Sufficient City (below), which won the History Channel's 2006 City of the Future competition, asks that the city go far beyond efficiency, actually producing all of its own necessities, from food and energy to housing and waste processing. Additionally, it transforms Manhattan by turning half of the vehicular roadways over to pedestrian traffic and abundant green space.

To provoke discussion about the environment, Terreform 1 produces concepts like the Fab Tree Hab, a literally living house, grown on site and shaped by reusable, CNC-milled scaffolding. Joachim stresses that collaboration between architects, engineers, scientists, and urban planners is essential. "When you think of massive issues like the city, [nothing comes] from any one field—especially urban design," he notes. To this end, he's formed the Bioworks Institute with biologist Oliver Medvedik. The pair is experimenting with biotechnology and tissue culturing to grow a "meat house." No plans have been announced for a meat city, yet.