GALLERY INDEX

Studio Laos: Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong

Landscape Design Studio 5 (2020-21)

Related Staff : Ashley Kelly, Xiaoxuan Lu


Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong builds on seven years of design-based experiential learning across mainland Southeast Asia by the Division of Landscape Architecture. This year, focusing on the regional impacts of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in northern Laos, students spend one term engaging issues of development vis-à-vis landscape architecture to define problems and produce innovative planning proposals. To build their knowledge base, students synthesized, through maps and diagrams, geography and anthropology literature on Laos’s major drivers of landscape change, including land reallocation polices, protected area development, watershed planning, drug eradication, illegal timber trade, and artisanal and corporate mining practices. Having not visited Laos this term due to the pandemic, we took the opportunity to reinforce critical approaches to planning, in which we understand our “sites” as inherently multi-sited constructs dominated by different stakeholders’ perspectives. In place of their field trip, each student was assigned pairs of existing development projects that we visited in previous years, and they were instructed to imagine the frictions between those sites’ ideologies, aims, expertise, and longer histories. For their strategic planning proposals, students each asked difficult questions of development and sustainability practices, including: Challenging impact assessment scope; qualifying the remediation potential of Chinese contract farming; bridging scientific study and community forestry; mitigating the industrialization and over-harvesting of species for traditional medicine; and exploring overlaps between mass ecotourism, protected areas and the illegal wildlife trade. Students had their work juried by a mix of ecologists, sociologists, geographers, activists, and philanthropists, in addition to designers and planners.

Enlarge Photo: Bear bile and green tape: Slow strategies for securing Luang Prabang's endangered socio-natures. By CHEANG Yuk Ching Sarah, MOK King Hei Jack.Enlarge Photo: Bear bile and green tape: Slow strategies for securing Luang Prabang's endangered socio-natures. By CHEANG Yuk Ching Sarah, MOK King Hei Jack.Enlarge Photo: Bear bile and green tape: Slow strategies for securing Luang Prabang's endangered socio-natures. By CHEANG Yuk Ching Sarah, MOK King Hei Jack.Enlarge Photo: Bear bile and green tape: Slow strategies for securing Luang Prabang's endangered socio-natures. By CHEANG Yuk Ching Sarah, MOK King Hei Jack.Enlarge Photo: Ground truthing compensation: A livelihood-based landscape impact assessment for Namtha basin. By FONG Joyce.Enlarge Photo: Ethno-botanical endangerment: Preventing over-exploitation during the industrialization of Laos's medicinal plant species. By LEUNG Chun Fai Anson.Enlarge Photo: Ethno-botanical endangerment: Preventing over-exploitation during the industrialization of Laos's medicinal plant species. By LEUNG Chun Fai Anson.Enlarge Photo: Co-constructing nature: Culturing ecosystem science under the East 101 Longitude Scheme. By LI Ho Lok Klaus.Enlarge Photo: Planting plan politics: The ecological economics of a community forest, Laos. By CHAN Wing Han Penny.Enlarge Photo: Planting plan politics: The ecological economics of a community forest, Laos. By CHAN Wing Han Penny.Enlarge Photo: Extinction landscape: Cultivating public awareness of the global wildlife trade at the Laos-China border. By ZHAI Qifei Frances.
UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE