Michael Salka in Cambridge

In September of 2021, Michael Salka will begin doctoral studies focused on the application of GIS to locally appropriate, nature-based solutions (NBS) for development and regionally attuned, circular value-chains at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Architecture as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Michael was a core member of the inaugural year of the MAEBB course in 2018, and went on to become an essential part of the leadership serving as technical coordinator and external projects coordinator. As a student, Michael was the project manager of the inaugural MAEBB thesis prototype, the Niu Haus. This project set the bar for each subsequent thesis prototype, creating an excellent reference for future students. While technical coordinator, Michael pioneered the traceability research line that is now a fundamental component to the annual harvest. He also greatly expanded the research capacity of Valldaura Labs, coordinating EU Research projects and writing at length about Biocities, circularity and traceability. His studies as a doctoral candidate will expand upon this work, creating networks of data that will inform the intelligent urban design of the future.  Michael remains involved with the research and academic activities of Valldaura Labs.

Michael Salka Biography Via Cambridge Website: 

My hands were rarely clean; as a child in the remote southwest of Colorado, I grew up shaping and being shaped by nature. A youth spent making a place for myself in that vast wilderness by building humble forts of pine, mud and snow endowed me with a reverence for the fundamental interconnectedness of ecology. Eventually, my awe found purpose in a career devoted to addressing the unprecedented challenges of a globalized, majority-urban, and climatically unstable world using the equally unprecedented potential of big data and digital technologies. Undergraduate management of teams of Engineers Without Borders in Rwanda, professional experience contributing to the USA’s largest net-zero energy neighborhood, and extended working travel throughout Europe guided me to enroll in the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia’s premier Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings & Biocities. This uniquely immersive program is hosted at Valldaura Labs, a progressively holistic research and fabrication facility just 10km from Barcelona’s center yet surrounded by forest. Upon graduation in 2019, I assumed a leadership role at Valldaura, where I pursued the investigations of regionally attuned, circular value-chains and nature-based solutions for development. I’ll further my PhD studies through the application of geographic information systems. I’m humbled to have been offered this privileged opportunity by the Gates Cambridge Trust and the University of Cambridge as well as to be counted among such an accomplished cohort, and extend my profound gratitude to all who have empowered my achievements to date.

Michael Salka – Biography (Gates Cambridge)