Our Masters in Design for Emergent Futures Students recently took a trip to our Valldaura Labs, just outside Barcelona. Guided by Jonathan Minchin, the students explored the change in biomes from one elevation to the next as they hiked their way to this special place. Understanding our natural environment is critical in the MDEF course, as we see bio-design as having a huge potential to impact the future.

On this journey the students start in the urban context, noting the human-planted vegetation along the way. Within a short period of time, they quickly gain an understanding of what in these environments is natural, and what is artificial.

After about an hour, we reached the summit where we can see Valldaura Labs. Valldaura is where we host our Masters in Ecological Buildings and Biodesign program as well as our Green Fab Lab. The students had the opportunity to explore the exterior facilities as well as the Fab Lab (COVID-19 protocol prevents us from touring the full facility with the students at the moment).

Valldaura Labs also acts as a research center for some of the European Union funded research projects by Fab Lab Barcelona such as ROMI, where they are exploring the role of robotics in small scale farming. Here in this garden, a robotic system using machine learning is able to select and remove weeds to have a greater harvest yield.

Some of this harvest goes directly to near by Green Leka restaurant where our students and faculty enjoyed lunch. Green Leka local restaurant committed to the ethos of developing a circular economy around food, nothing goes to waste and as much as possible is sourced sustainably and locally.