Nicholas de Monchaux

Local Code: Real Estates

San Francisco & elsewhere

2011 to present

When artist Gordon Matta-Clark created Fake Estates in the early 1970s, he spent three years combing through public records to identify 15 fallow, forgotten city-owned lots. Using GIS mapping, architect Nicholas de Monchaux identified over 1,500 vacant public lots in San Francisco in a matter of months. In the U.C. Berkeley professor’s eyes, when considered together, these residual, unmaintained spaces are a vast untapped resource. Using parametric design to optimize thermal and hydrological performance, he proposes a landscape design for each parcel, resulting in a network of urban greenways that enhances the city’s ecology and benefits citizens’ health. He has extended the research to other cities, creating a database of neglected sites that could be recuperated to create infrastructures that mend ecological and social circumstances.

Accessibility, Community, Economy, Information, Pleasure, Sustainability
Problem - need for robust and resilient urban infrastructure to support communities
Solution - re-purpose underutilized public land as green infrastructure, relieving the burden on existing infrastructure and building sustainable communities.