Shengtai lizhou (or Projects for eco-environmental landscapes)

MLA Thesis Section (2015-16)

Related Staff : Ashley Kelly

Students: DOA Hoi Man Cathy; JIN Jiayi Jason; KAN Shiu Sun Tom; ZHOU Junlong Juno

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:
“Production Atypical: State agricultural policy and divergent resource management for the coastal plains of Laizhou Bay” by JIN Jiayi Jason;
“Parallel Development: The Convergence of migration and environmental policy in the deserts of northwest China” by ZHOU Junlong Juno;
“The Economics of Desertification: Complex land mosaics and replanting the commons of northern China’s shelter belts” by DOA Hoi Man Cathy”; and
“Scoping Responsibilities: Environmental justice in future energy investment projects of Myanmar” by KAN Shiu Sun Tom.

Enlarge Photo: Production Atypical: State agricultural policy and divergent resource management for the coastal plains of Laizhou Bay / JIN Jiayi Jason
Enlarge Photo: Shengtai lizhou (or Projects for eco-environmental landscapes) 2