Related Staff : Ashley Kelly
Students: NG Man Hei Kenif; WANG Tiankui Cary; XU Jiayue YY; ZHANG Zihui Ffion
Most environmental legislation was passed within the last 30 years. This thesis section investigates the battle against China’s eco-environmental degradation and the realization of large-scale environmental programs in the lives of second-tier or rural populations. Ulrich Beck (2009) notes that the ecological crisis involves a “systemic violation of basic rights, whose long-term social destabilizing effects can scarcely be overestimated.” China’s programs are both resultant from new global institutions and reactionary to the successes and failures of 20th century environmental programs (Weller, 2006). The shift in the 1990s to models of “sustainable development” greatly influenced the establishment of most of China’s legislation and protection network. Such national projects as the Sloping Land Conversion and Natural Forest Protection Programs mold, sometimes with great conflict, to diverse geographies in which those impacted have a direct attachment to physical territory. How is Mao’s conquest of nature (see Shapiro, 2001) reformed in the new environmental state? Landscape’s agency in synthesizing and visualizing resource governance, technology transfers, land and tenure conflicts through such attachment to landscape is crucial. Long the arena of political ecology, the landscape architect and planner finds disciplinary footing from earlier periods of landscape planning (and narrowly contemporary landscape urbanism) and emergent planning and design technologies from civil engineering and the environmental sciences. Even recent disaster relief projects more formally within architecture are necessarily implicated, for they must be seen within a history of ecological responses to environmental impoverishment. All theses in this stream share succinct trans-scalar methodologies that will: i) Survey and visualize the material landscape and infrastructures of one or more of these programs; ii) Identify siloed approaches by political, environmental and social actors; iii) Generate physical design that curates details from complex scenarios into a speculative narrative; and iv) Appropriate and critique analytical methods from other disciplines from within design.
Student theses this year included:
“Fragmentation in National Desertification Policy: Environmental management and relocation for eco-refugees, Northwest China” by ZHANG Zihui Ffion;
“Large-scale Impact of Eucalyptus on Regional Economic and Environmental Sustainability” by XU Jiayue YY; and
“Geographies of Disconnection: Poyang Lake National Nature Reserve” by WANG Tiankui Cary.