Talk on Urban Workspace Design and Sustainable Innovations

Venue: The CoWrks Foundry

Title: Urban Workspace Design and Sustainable Innovations
With 2 out of 3 people in the future going to live in the cities, the urbanization is slowly becoming an area of study.

Prof. Patricia Culligan highlighted Urban infrastructure challenges at the beginning of her presentation. In her view “How to develop new urban infrastructure and or deal with existing infrastructure?” is a question, everyone needs to answer. Every city, whether big(New York) or small(Rajkot, Mumbai) is undergoing a rapid transformation. In some cities, infrastructure is unable to cope up and in some it is inadequate. 7 infrastructure challenges highlighted are: Energy, Building, Transportation, Water Supply, Sanitation and Waste, Public Spaces

The talk then focused on a comparison between localized and distributed systems. A localized system is flexible, easy to INITIALLY FINANCE, and more easy to upgrade with technological advancements. On the other hand, it can be hard to maintain because it is composed of very many individual interventions, and also might need an understanding of sophisticated techniques. A mixed system can be a good way to respond growing infrastructure needs of cities.

Her lecture then shifted to challenges faced by India in energy, water, waste management, air quality, storm waste management.

She mentioned many of the start-ups from Columbia University focusing on solving some of these environmental challenges.

After a question and answer session, Ivy Schultz spoke about ‘Lean Launchpad Methodology’. In simple words, test your idea, understand the customer, refine it further before you go to the market.
A person may be passionate about solving a problem, but building something nobody wants is not a solution to the problem. She highlighted ‘Get out of the building’ concept to know more about customers. She then engaged with the audience on what questions to be asked, how to conduct interviews and a simple explanation of business model canvas.

After the conclusion of her talk, she asked us to form a group of people sitting next to each one of us. And ask what are the skills, qualities all of us have to help each other. After 15 minutes, each of the group introduced themselves. Everyone got to know a lot of different people.

My group won the prize for the best introduction.

From L to R: Shweta, Yamini Kumar, Ankit , Varalakshmi , Amit Choudhary(not in the picture), Megna (not in the picture)
(Picture courtesy: Sinduja Sasaram)


  • Professor Patricia J. Culligan: Professor Patricia J. Culligan is the Founding Associate Director of the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, and faculty at the Earth Institute and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Patricia is a leader in the field of water resources and urban sustainability. Her research investigates the opportunities for green infrastructure, social networks, and advanced measurement and sensing technologies to improve the urban ecosystem.
  • Ivy Schultz: Ivy Schultz is the Director of Entrepreneurship at The Fu Foundation Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia University, where she manages initiatives to foster entrepreneurship in Columbia engineers, linking them to the ecosystem of the university, the city, and beyond. She has actively consulted with startups and larger organizations since 2009, helping them communicate technical ideas and describe their brands to customers, partners, and investors.

Event details:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.