By Ty Burke

In celebration of Carleton University’s 2023 Throwback week–a homecoming for alumni and community members–we sat down with seven alumni to see where they are now. Their stories moved us and reminded us of the impact our engineering and design alumni have on creating technology for good, sustainability, health and wellness, and social innovation.

A Greener Future

In Los Angeles, nearly 20% of trees grow in neighbourhoods where just 1% of the population lives. A city’s tree canopy plays an important role in keeping it cool, and unsurprisingly, the city’s tree canopy is concentrated in its wealthiest neighbourhoods. That leaves many of Los Angeles’ poorer residents exposed to high temperatures, with all of the health implications that has. But unlike many environmental challenges, this one has a relatively straightforward fix: plant more trees.

Aliza Sovani is helping this type of story reach a larger audience. She founded a multimedia production company called Earth Tones with her sister, environmental journalist Aliya Jasmine. It seeks to amplify environmental stories, and ensure that diverse voices are heard.

Aliza Sovani, Founder of Earth Tones, architecture alumna. Standing beside her sister (right) on site for a video shoot.

“We saw an opportunity gap. My sister was working as a reporter for NBC News, and was covering topics like urban tree canopy cover,” says Sovani, a graduate of the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, and Canadian- and French-accredited landscape architect.

“I had been working on urban tree canopy cover for a decade, and we wondered why there was such a delay between academic research and this type of information reaching the mainstream.”

Earth Tones works with well-known media and technology brands to tell stories about climate change and the built environment in a way that’s accessible and entertaining. And Sovani credits her time at Carleton with helping her develop the kind of reflective mindset that situates these stories in the bigger picture.

“I appreciate the paradigm of the Azrieli School. It’s really grounded and pure. It takes a poetic approach to thinking about the built environment and the role of the architect,” says Sovani.

“That’s very important. As a practitioner, you need to slow down, take a breather, sketch and have a moment to think. It is a rare paradigm, and it is pretty beautiful.”

Want to participate in Carleton’s 2023 Throwback events? Visit the alumni website to learn more.

Thursday, September 21, 2023 in ,
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