So… what is this Urban Patch anyway?


We get a lot of questions about our name, the Urban Patch. We like to think it’s pretty cool and ‘catchy.’ But it does also have a serious meaning for our work, which is also inspired by our roots in urban community development. One of the project’s founders, Justin Moore, is an urban designer and professor in New York City. He did his graduate studies in architecture and urban design at Columbia University. While at Columbia he worked with Professor Brian McGrath on urban design research focused on the “patch dynamics” model for urban ecosystems that was being developed by a team, including ecologist Dr. Stewart Pickett, at the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. Along with a group of four other designers, Justin worked on a proposal for the increased environmental and social resiliency of inner city Baltimore’s Watershed 263. The project was well-received by the interdisciplinary researchers involved in the ecosystem study:

“The project called “Point Cloud” aroused great interest for its innovative translation of ecosystem theories to an urban design model. Rather than working with bounded zones such as neighborhoods or land use, this project for West Baltimore is a system of local points and five interlaced strategies; storm water, grey water, debris, vegetation, property ownership and value. It works by aggregating the idiosyncratic, physical, environmental, economic and social conditions of inner-block spaces, to form multi-scalar networks within the watershed.” – Grounding: Ecosystem Science and Urban Design BES Annual Meeting, June 15, 2005

The “urban patch” strategies first developed in this design studio research a decade ago at Columbia are now being tested and implemented in Indianapolis’ Midtown neighborhoods. Urban Patch’s incremental and multi-scalar strategies, the social capital and ecological sustainability approaches to community revitalization, and our collaborative, interdisciplinary way of working are all critical to our model for developing projects. We work to translate large and small ideas into reality for our communities; and we hope that our approach will help to make the American inner city better.

Point Cloud – Baltimore, MD

Fall 2003, Columbia University MSAUD – Research & Design Team: Flora Hsiang-I Chen, Manolo Figueroa, Camille Han-Tian, Justin Moore and Oliver Valle









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