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Nonprofit Organization for Philanthropic Architecture, Urban + Ecological Design.
World Population in 2110

Official Selection of the Venice
The Economist
Fast Company
The Creators Project

Credit: Mitchell Joachim, Nurhan
Gokturk, Melanie Fessel, Maria
Aiolova, Oliver Medvedik.

Research Fellows: Chloe Byrne, Keith
Comito, Adrian De Silva, Daniel
Dewit, Renee Fayzimatova, Alena
Field, Nicholas Gervasi, Julien
Gonzalez, Lucas Hamren, Patty
Kaishian, Ahmad Khan, Laasyapriya
Malladi, Karan Maniar, Ricardo
Martin Coloma, Puja Patel, Merve
Poyraz, Mina Rafiee, Mahsoo Salimi,
Manjula Singh, Diego Wu Law.

Media: transgenic E. coli, parametric
thermoformed styrene plates, carbon
fiber rods, steel strut channels, USB
microscopes 400x, multiport high-
speed USB hubs, ultraviolet LED
lighting strips, MAC Mini.
Size: 15’ x 9’ x 3’    

The United Nations announced:
“World population stabilization
unlikely this century” (Gerland et al.
2014). In the next 100 years we can
expect human population to reach
11 billion people. What does this
increased massive growth look like?
Our Bio City Map is a hybrid art and
science installation that links:
transgenic design, cartography,
urban planning, and 3d parametric

We formed a world map based on the
Dymaxion grid to communicate an
all-encompassing view of population
density in cities based on
probabilistic census data. The map
visualizes the earth as one entire
urbanized place, instead of
unconnected settlements,
municipalities, and disparate regions.
If we are anticipating growth at this
rate almost everything in human
society will be comprehensively
stressed. This systemic pressure
includes: water scarcity, food
shortages, overcrowding, air quality
depletion, and traffic congestion.
The public must be made aware of
the consequences related to
uncontrolled growth. It is the first step
in recognizing a universal challenge
in this century. If we cannot foresee
the impending difficulty, the
potential solutions are hard to justify.

Our Bio City Map displays population
density as a parametric graph on the
front and the back is made with living
biosynthetic transgenic matter. These
living elements focus on twenty-five
mega-cities, genetically designed
and grown inside petri dishes. Our
novel approach experimented with
living populations that consisted of
billions of bacterial cells. We chose
colonies of E. coli as a method of
demonstrating exponential
population growth using synthetic

Population density was represented
in two different forms of fluorescent
transgenic E. coli under UV light.
Glowing red E. coli represented
future census projections. While
green E. coli represented existing
demographic conditions you would
find in today’s cities. Micro-stencils
derived from CAD files shaped the E.
coli into specific geometries that
display the current geopolitical
boundaries in cities.

Genetic modifications of benign
strains of E. coli were carried out at
Genspace, the world’s first
community based biotech laboratory
and at Terreform ONE. Genes cloned
from bioluminescent oceanic
animals, such as jellyfish and coral,
were introduced into bacteria by
transformation. These genes
encoded information that would
enable our transformed microbes to
synthesize either GFP or RFP, two
brightly fluorescent proteins.

The transformed E. coli were then
incubated overnight on Petri plates
containing agar based media with
antibiotics, to select our genetically
modified strains. Individual bacteria
divided through repeated population
doublings to produce colonies
containing millions of cells. Each
selected cell now expressed our
cloned proteins. We then used high-
speed centrifugation to concentrate
our colonies of transgenic E. coli.
A novel method was used to produce
stencil derived bacteria prints for
long-term archival quality gallery
display and to underscore the highest
zones of growth. Ultimately, the
bacterial shapes grow to reveal
variant patterns of transformation in
urban regions. By using biosynthetic
materials, we expect to narrow the
gap between idealized mathematical
interpretations and observable events
in nature.

The Bio City Map is an
interdisciplinary project that involved
cartographers, urban planners,
biologists, and architects to complete
a manifestation of future population
density. We argue that most nations
cannot view the effects of planetary
population density through the lens
of just one city or region. Instead we
aimed to reveal the long-range
effects of immense human growth in
areas of present and speculative
urban intensity.