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Post Urban Living Innovation Project

Speculative Design

Can we imagine a world powered by hydrogen?

PULI is an international speculative project sponsored by the Japanese government and Toshiba. It is a collaboration between the Tecnológico de Monterrey Mexico City Campus, Chiba University, Japan, and UNAM.

This project seeks to create scenarios in which products that power our daily activities work with renewable energy based on hydrogen. All product proposals are based on research and technology developed by Toshiba and Toyota.

Collaborations: Chiba University,

Toshiba, Tecnológico de Monterrey

Design team members: Mónica Arriaga, Jesús Sifuentes, and Alejandro Vivián

Mentors: Shinji Watanabe, Chiba U Inés Álvarez, ITESM Julian Villareal, UNAM

January - June 2019

System concept

Based on the described guidelines, we developed ZOOX. ZOOX is a platform that will work as a plastic collector, promoting the coral reef reconstruction by hosting micro-fragmentation coral farms. It also would host productive activities such as aquaponic crops on the platform deck, or reused polymer transformation. These activities pursue to provide a healthy marine environment to the harbor and at the same time, to facilitate scientific and technological research inside the platform facilities. 


Once concluded both workshops, Tec de Monterrey team focused on discussing the scope of the proposals to validate in a more accurate way, the impact on the life of the population of Veracruz harbor in 2040. The methodology for analysis included 

global issues visualization, and the effect of burning fossil fuel.


For the development of the final proposal, the project has three main axes of action in order to redirect these global trends.

1. Reconstruction of coral reef habitats

In the last 30 years, we have faced a 50% loss of coral reefs due to the increase in the sea surface temperature. With only a 2° temperature rise, coral may suffer bleaching (microorganism loss) and death in most of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as in Okinawa and the Gulf of Mexico. Projections based on this trend, stand that by 2040, we could lose coral reefs completely, as this being the first extinction of completely natural habitat in the history of mankind. The importance of keeping this ecosystem healthy and alive is that it is a source of food and income for over 500 million people.

2. New ways of sustainable and controlled agriculture

Aquaponic crops are a model of soilless crop production, useful to provide a closer food income to urban centers, reducing the food miles wasted in the process and avoiding the burning of fuels in transportation. Along with this, aquaponic crops are produced under controlled environments, which are held by artificial lighting and weather control.


In the last couple of years (2016 to 2017), The Mexican economy experienced a deficiency in agricultural systems as a result of unusual weather conditions and hard heat waves hitting the country continuously. 

The idea of migrating crops to the sea has two main reasons: The first one goes along with the human population rise in almost all urban centers all around the world. We have experienced a population rise of 1,350 million people just in the last 15 years, and trends can show us that by 2050 we will be around 10 billion people coexisting in the world. Also, a high percentage of migration is occurring to cities close to shore areas, due to the high resources and income that these areas represent.

3. Cleaning the ocean from micro-plastics

There are 8 million tons of plastic trash thrown to the ocean each year. Of all this waste, 70% are found in the sea bottom, 15% in the water column, and the other 15% in the sea surface.


Since 80% of this trash is microplastics, marine animals easily get intoxicated or ingest larger plastics confusing them with food. As an example of this, we can see corals. The coral’s pulps tend to confuse these microplastics with the zooplankton and absorb them, causing them bleaching. 


On the bright side, since the main plastics in the ocean are Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polystyrene (PS), we can find endless ways to reusing them.

Captura de pantalla 2020-07-31 a las 1.1

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Monica Arriaga ©2021