by Tuan Nguyen
Densely packed tall buildings in today’s cities cast shadows over approximately two thirds of their own built surface, on average over different seasons and times of day. This pattern of darkness, inherited from the America’s 19th century gridded land and free-for-all zoning laws, does not allow for the efficient capture of the sun’s energy efficiently. The Urban Sun project investigates adjusting a city’s zoning envelope to maximize the area exposed to the sun, which can be used to generate local energy for the city. A simple computer program was developed for the Urban Sun project to scan any city form at any location on the earth and carve away the parts that send out or receive excessive shadows, revealing the most energy efficient form for that city to have when gathering energy from the sun falling on it.