Successionary Urbanism: Adaptive strategies for Coastal Communities in the Greater Bay Area

Landscape Design Studio III C (2019-20)

Related Staff : Michael Kokora, Natalia Echeverri

This advanced studio investigated the role that landscape design and planning will have in shaping the land-use, settlement, habitat, and infrastructure of the Pearl River Delta in the face of dynamic social, economic, and environmental change. In less than 50 years, a lightly-settled landscape of tidal marshes and mudflats, rivers and fields, has evolved into one of the world’s centers of manufacturing and trade. The Pearl River Delta is now the largest urban conglomeration in the world hosting a population of more than 70 million. Nevertheless, this region faces a host of environmental challenges, from predictable decreasing in habitat and environmental degradation, water-pollution, flooding and salt-water intrusion, to the unknown threats driven by global warming, such as more volatile weather patterns and rising sea-levels along with social, economic, and political instability. The studio considered the PRD as a region in flux. Following models of ecological succession, we took a time-and-process based approach to urban design and landscape planning. Patterns and processes, driven by internal parameters and triggered by external conditions determined the delta’s urbanization and land development. Working between the watershed-scale considerations of the region’s urban and ecological dynamics, and site-scaled considerations of land transformation and urban development, students proposed landscape-led strategies for improving the adaptivity and resiliency of this region for the next five decades.

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