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TerraViva award to MUrCS students

Rand Hamdallah and Jonie Agas, have been awarded the 3rd Prize in the Tactical Urbanism NOW! IV international design competition in Milan. They write:

Our proposal was inspired by our winter experience in Finland. It’s a privilege to apply the urbanism strategies we learned in MUrCS on an international platform, which is why we also share this success to our professors who imparted your knowledge to us.

Here is a short project description about our entry (click images to open and enlarge):

The Nordic region’s extensive winter significantly reduces outdoor activities and community engagement for nearly half the year. Located in Lahti, Finland, the DeFROST initiative reimagines urban winters by transforming Pikku-Vesijärvi Park into an engaging space during these cold months.

While thriving as a recreational oasis in the summer, the park remains largely dormant and underutilized from September to May due to prolonged snow cover. The area’s significant immigrant population also adds diversity to the challenge of enhancing community connection and integration.

DeFROST rejuvenates urban life during the long winter months by leveraging thermogenesis, the body’s natural response to physical movement. This process helps maintain internal body temperature, making outdoor environments more bearable during the extended winters.

Activity-filled cubes, interconnected by a walkway, encourage urban interaction. Signage placed every 2 kilometers along the walkway helps visitors monitor their warmth gain, based on the average time needed to increase body temperature by 1°C during a 25-minute walk at a moderate pace.

The cubes are thematic, divided into three categories: social, environmental, and leisure. Social cubes focus on language, music, art, culture, and self-expression; environmental cubes emphasize recycling; and leisure cubes provide spaces for exercise, games, relaxation, and meditation. Each cube features a modular system designed for easy detachment, relocation, and customization according to user requirements.

The design strategy is incremental, starting with a test phase in the park to assess impact and adapt based on community feedback. With a successful pilot, DeFROST aims to scale up, expanding to other Nordic cities.