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Equitable Roofs
2021-22 | Rhode Island School of Design

Equitable roofs is an urban design investigation using two primary case studies on energy and food sovereignty.


Urban Design


Living in architectural spaces that are centered around resources that are diminishing such as freshwater and fossil-fuel power plants, we are hugely dependent on infrastructure that still is not accessible to all. Roofs in urban spaces have the potential to be valuable sites for food and energy production, promoting resource security in urban communities.


However, access to these rooftop spaces can be limited by factors such as cost and policy barriers. To ensure equitable access to rooftop gardens, strategies such as community engagement, subsidized access to rooftop spaces, and appropriate programming can help promote accessibility and community benefit.

Case 1: Food

Rooftop gardens can provide fresh and healthy produce, particularly in areas with limited access to grocery stores or healthy food options. The greenhouse hydroponics system provides access to fresh, healthy produce in urban areas where traditional agriculture is not feasible due to space constraints and lack of access to arable land. The system is scalable, allowing for expansion and increased production, and it also provides local jobs and supports the local economy.

Overall, rooftop greenhouse hydroponics systems that use renewable energy are a sustainable solution for urban food production. They provide access to fresh produce, reduce water usage and eliminate the need for pesticides, while also reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

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Case 2: Energy

Equitable energy is a concept for communities to generate, use and manage their own energy.

For an energy self-sovereign community using renewables, people wouldn't have to pay as much to have access to adequate energy. There would be streamlined solutions to local challenges in regard to power outages and waste streams. A boost in community projects to engage, innovate and expand their systems. People would come together to decide how the energy is being produced and consumed, and it would be critically evaluated and to the current situation of the community. Goals would be set, which are actionable, achievable and fair. All of this needs to build genuine trust, rather than a transaction of utilities, and create mutual aid and cross-communication to understand each others needs. I believe this change in ideologies can empower the community.



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