MLA Thesis Section 1 2017-18

Related Staff : Kelly, Ashley Scott

Students: AU YOUNG Chung Yan Samantha; KWOK Siu Man Mandy; LU Jingrong Lawrence; ZHANG Boyang Marina

Course Code: 7299
Course Title: MLA Thesis Section: Shengtai lizhou (or Projects for eco-environmental landscapes)

Regional corridors propelled by China’s 2013 Belt and Road Initiative are set to connect Eurasian economic centers through some of the last frontiers of Central, South and Southeast Asia. These frontiers are typically the domain of multilateral development banks and international environmental NGOs. My thesis section has for the past several years encouraged innovative landscape planning interventions into China’s large-scale eco-environmental programmes (生态立州). With China’s increasingly cogent going out (走出去), this section also welcomes proposals for landscape-driven theses in transnational arenas heavily influenced by Chinese development, aid and expertise. Indeed, lessons from China’s internal development, such as the long-running Western Development campaign (西部大开发) and recent 2015 national park reforms, provide a critical lens for understanding new potentials for Chinese-led projects in socially and ecologically contested frontiers and in the lives of second-tier and rural populations. The shift during the 1990s to models of “sustainable development” greatly influenced the establishment of most of China’s legislation, protection network, and national environmental programmes. Such national projects as the Sloping Land Conversion and Natural Forest Protection Programs mold, sometimes with great conflict, to diverse geographies in which those people impacted have a direct attachment to physical territory (see Yeh, 2013). Landscape architecture’s agency here includes the synthesizing of resource governance, technology transfers, land change and tenure conflicts through such attachment to landscape. Long the arena of geography and anthropology, the landscape architect and planner finds disciplinary footing from earlier periods of landscape planning (see Weller, 2014), contemporary landscape urbanism (although narrowly), and emergent planning and design technologies from civil engineering and the environmental sciences (see Roy Chowdhury, 2013). All theses in this section share a succinct trans-scalar methodology: i) Survey case-based successes and failures of these projects or predecessors, especially in their remnant material landscapes and infrastructures; ii) Identify siloed approaches by political, environmental and social actors; iii) Appropriate and critique analytical methods and tools from sustainability and conservation sciences using iterative design methods; iv) Employ critical counter-mapping and counter-assessment strategies; and v) Generate prototypical designs that synthesize this case-based knowledge into landscape-driven scenarios and development narratives.