The CAUS Annual Graduate Student Poster Competition

Tuesday, March 14th, Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies held the Annual Annual Graduate Student Poster Competition. Students presented their research in many diverse research areas and shared their opinions and comments with each other, as well as professors. The jury announced the Poster Competition Award Recipients on the same day.

The first prize went to Lauren Delbridge (fifth year BLA), who was inspired to research the remediation of a heavily disturbed site. Addressing the larger issue of Coal Ash Ponds, her project delves into the complexities of coal ash, the workings of coal-fired power plants, existing engineering strategies, and applied methods of phytoremediation and bioremediation. "I focused my work around Dominion’s Chesterfield Power Station, situated along the James River south of Richmond, Virginia. As the largest coal-burning power station in the state, the site offers opportunities for remediation at a large scale that could act as a precedent for the treatment of other coal ash ponds across the country. One of the unique aspects of the site is the adjacent Dutch Gap Conservation Area that creates a distinct juxtaposition between the degraded industrial landscape and thriving ecological habitats. In addition to remediating the coal ash ponds and designing with people in mind, my project also responds to the surrounding ecological conditions."

Abdulmueen Bogis, second year PhD student at Landscape architecture program, took the second place. "Concrete open channels commonly are not developed to cope with the increased issues of land needs for housing and public open spaces in cities, nor to benefit from rainwater and reusing the municipal water in greening sustainable stormwater channels. Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia struggles from both; lack of open spaces while consuming spaces in constructing concrete open channels, exacerbated by the rapid growth of population and urbanism. This study develops an alternative landscape infrastructure of the traditional drainage channels to generate multiple benefits including stormwater management as well as a central green finger for Jeddah City. The results include efficient design recommendations for planners and designers to redevelop constructed or proposed stormwater channels, using sustainable green infrastructure practices to improve the livability of Jeddah City and other cities with similar conditions."

The third prize was held by Hamad Alsaiari, third year PhD student at Landscape architecture program. The project is a stated preference study of Multifamily Housing at Transit-oriented Developments: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. "As the relationship between transit and density is interdependent, the attractiveness and acceptability of high-density housing near transit for future residents is unclear. Most of this uncertainty stems from the inherent practice of planning that promotes, and thus shapes, a specific living arrangement to constitute an ideal. As a result, the significant attributes of transit-oriented development (TOD) seems to be at variance with people’s preferences for living in a car-oriented, low-density, single-use, single-family detached house."

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