Paddock Rewilding: An Agri-wilding Scenario for a Regenerative Rural Heritage Landscape in Post-productivist Cambrian Mountains, Wales

Abstract

In the recent past millennia, the process of anthropocentric way of living and the perpetual ecology orchestrated by human have led to significant damages to the biosphere, and paved the way to a novel response to mend the impairment. “Rewilding” is an eco-centric land management alternative, to introduce pristine wilderness back into humanity, and allow an open-ended natural processes to regain dominance in landscape to restore eco-dynamic with minimal human control. This approach has become a growing phenomenon as a result of marginal farmland abandonment across Europe, where the overarching policies and conservation strategies are historically embracing active land management. Cambrian Mountains in Wales, United Kingdom was studied as a miniature – The landscape has been maintained for production since WWI, Brexit intensified the drive for rewilding by conservationists to envision a policy-led humanless ‘wildland’ in an unprecedented scale. The ambition bluntly sweeps across uneconomical sheep farms that are still in operation, which sparked debate with farmers who live off the culture-saturated land through traditional management. A pilot community in Cambrian Mountains is selected to demonstrate the landscape intervention ‘Paddock Rewilding’- a middle ground to mediate and create synergy in two conceptually polarised value systems of heritage landscape and rewilding. Inspired by the indigenous pathway of ‘Shifting Cultivation’, this project examines the larger territory can be elaborated into a ‘permanently impermanent’ rotational scenario between ‘Rewilding’ and ‘Dewilding’. Timescale, traditional movement of livestock and the historical right of ‘Common’ are deployed to unlatch the potential land rhythm and hybridise farm management methods in post-Brexit era.

Keywords: rewilding; heritage landscape; non-anthropocentric conservation; land use conflict; Brexit

Rehabilitation of a seasonal floodplain forest: An indigenous-based approach to urban development for the floodplain forest communities of Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

Abstract

Rehabilitation of a Seasonal Floodplain Forest: An indigenous-based approach to urban development for the floodplain forest communities of Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand examines the effects of rapid urbanization on the Floodplain Forest along the Moon River, the longest river in Northeast Thailand and looks at the potential for traditional practices to guide and inform the ongoing development process, to more equitable and sustainable outcomes. People from different ethnic groups settled the floodplains several centuries ago. Collectively they found opportunity in the fluctuating waters and developed skills and knowledge of living off the land through the seasons: cultural practices which now identify them as a community. The construction of dams and the filling of land for development as part of the rapid urbanization of the city of Ubon Ratchathani, has dramatically changed this landscape, altering the cultural relationship between people and water, and making them more vulnerable to climate change. The formalization of the waters’ edge in the name of flood protection has severely restricted people’s access to the river and is increasingly inhibiting traditional fishing and foraging practices. When people lose their close relationship with water, they lose their understanding of the natural system and how to manage the water and land. Flooding becomes a risk rather than a resource. An indigenous practice-based approach to urban development for the floodplain forest communities using indigenous philosophies of ‘symbiosis with Nature’ in relation to design, should generate sustainable and climate resilient infrastructures, and help people achieve balanced lifestyles. While still permitting urban development, the impact of these strategies would be to increase accessibility to water for Ubon people, generate the dynamic and diverse activities along the river and inland wetland related to natural systems and seasonal change, enhance biodiversity and ecosystem for all inhabitants, and reduce the negative effects from flood and drought.

Keywords: indigenous practices; urbanization; floodplain forest; sustainability; northeast Thailand

Catalyzing uncertainty and ecological risk: An Environmental archive for readying Hong Kong’s plural ontologies

Abstract

Today, with a global environmental emergency alongside political battles for democracy and human rights, new strategies are needed to articulate trust and promote democratic environmentalist values, especially in contested regions. Contemporary society presents extreme discontents underpinned by ecological risk and an environment threatened by increasingly unchallenged dominant voices. Hong Kong’s environmental decision-making occurs within a laissez-faire economic system best described as neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics. Critical analysis of Hong Kong’s environmental governance system shows high relevance of advocacy groups, a lack of public participation, corporate pressure, weak institutions necessary for articulating various knowledges, and inadequate evaluation of the cumulative effects of environmental contamination. Following arguments across Hong Kong’s legal, information technology, and environmental sectors for the implementation of an archives law, this thesis proposes creating an Independent Environmental Archives Agency (IEAA) capable of collecting and representing evidence of cumulative impact, supporting process-oriented environmental governance, and “salvaging” (Choy, “Ecologies of Comparison”, 2011) scientific uncertainty for more sustainable development. Through a requirement of including the ontological perspectives of seven stakeholder groups with distinct and sometimes divergent sustainability practices, this agency both effectively guarantees inclusion of diverse perspectives while also filtering knowledge and facilitating dialogue that privilege environmental uncertainty, longer-term objectives, and intergenerational equity. Examples of stakeholders include a director of corporate sustainability, an indigenous community leader, a Special Rapporteur to Hong Kong, a civil servant, an environmental activist, an environmental manager, and a developer-employed architect. Each stakeholder poses to the IEAA questions formed from distinct socio-political and disciplinary backgrounds (e.g., training in environmental law or corporate sustainability, degrees in social sciences or ecology, certificates in sustainable community governance), along with those backgrounds’ attendant biases and assumptions. A species-based approach helps further focus the selection of evidence and design of monitoring programs. The IEAA’s capacity for targeting, collecting, filtering, and returning “data” from the archive on cumulative impact is improved as projects, assessments, and, most importantly, stakeholder queries are entered into and help strengthen its archive.

Keywords: Hong Kong; environmental governance; scientific uncertainty; environmental knowledge; impact assessment

Vanishing String: The Future of Landscape in Different Aspects of Humanity, Space Odysseys

Abstract

The Vanishing String: The Future of Landscape in Different Aspects of Humanity is a thesis investigating the change of landscape in a possible but uncertain future stage. The notion of this thesis emerged with rising environmental changes concerns and global awareness of environmental protection, though the attention to these topics may regarded as paranoia among groups of people, as there is no scientific model in the laboratory can take all parameters from the reality into account to generate a complete prediction result. Coincide with the 50th anniversary of moon landing and the intensified space exploration fantasies heated by entrepreneurs and competitions between territories, many hold the believe that space migration shall be the last resort for the continuation of humanity. Space colonization has always been the dream in astronomy, it is not only reflected in various fictions since the first launched satellite in 1930s but also in the foundations of well-known companies specialized in space travel. Holding these antecedents and consequences, the position of future ‘landscape’ remains unexplored in landscape architectural practice for decades. Contextualized with the rapid expansion and development of the field in previous 20 years, the thesis is bridging the space industries and the landscape industry with systematic thinking and planning in an expanded time frame. This requires the thesis to go beyond the conventional scope of landscape architecture and rethink the position of the discipline base on given assumptions. This thesis critiques the formation of current believes of space colonization through landscape planning and philosophical lens, acknowledging the difficulties of maintaining life in ‘true void’ and unknown ground beyond the atmosphere. While engaging with logical and systematic design processes, providing new position and directions to Landscape Architecture, the argument nevertheless exemplifies the ‘Utopian’ fantasy in an inverted way, stimulating self-reflection on the significance of design constructions. Thesis film: https://youtu.be/Pfbn6s0eYOk

Keywords: space colonization; survival network; post-humanism; re-encounter bottleneck; future shock

Edible Heritage: Retaining and expanding Metro Vancouver’s cultural diversity through local ethnocultural food landscape

Abstract

Being an important marker and symbol of culture, food is often conceived as one of the most resilient tools for self-identity formation, community connection maintenance, and heritage making. Since the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003, the concept of heritage has shifted and expanded – the inclusion of intangible heritage called international attention to the need for rethinking our preservation strategies. Unlike the tangible legacies which, to some extent, can be protected by building regulations and zoning ordinances, the preservation of intangible heritage focused heavily on sustaining the community’s bodily experience – a fluid dynamic that cannot be forced by formalized frameworks, and must be supported by a widespread and comprehensive public recognition. Only through the act of constant recreation, the intangible cultural heritage can be passed on from one generation to another, and therefore be kept alive. Cultural landscapes that allow public appreciation are vital to the continuation of our living heritage, and what is more readily appreciated than food? With a holistic approach that utilizes the power of food in grounding body-place-memory, this thesis project, “Edible Heritage” is an attempt to engage the extended local food community in safeguarding the diverse cultures in Metro Vancouver. By multiplying the number of public access points in different sectors of society, including leisure activity, cultural movement, education opportunity, and food research, production, and consumption, the “Edible Heritage” network facilitates the respectful negotiation among the public, innovators, and cultural carriers, reminding us that a cultural landscape is not only a place for remembering but also for living.

Keywords: Vancouver; cultural landscape; living heritage; ethnic neighborhoods; foodscape

Archaeological Tourism as Catalyst for Landscape Change in Vedi, Armenia

Abstract

This design mainly studies the staged landscape renewal strategy of the multi-purpose cultural heritage site with tourism as a catalyst for improved heritage protection, ecological performance, and sustainable economic growth in Vedi, Armenia. In recent years, with the increasing proportion of cultural tourism in the national economy of Armenia, archaeological tourism has become the government’s most concerned direction to promote national income and help maintain archaeological heritage. The current stage of Armenia’s archaeological tourism industry is mostly the evolution of the form of bottom-up farmhouses, pursuing a single development focused on ticket income. Based on this background, taking the Vedi fortress of Armenia as an example, This research aims to systematically analyze the relevant spatial and political, economic and cultural factors of the archaeological landscape, and explore the use of dynamic tourism as a catalyst to achieve better landscape change. The specific tourism dynamic methodology is distribution dynamics, model dynamics, and density dynamics. At the same time catalytic landscape is divided into three stages. The first stage focuses on archaeological research and tourism infrastructure preparation; the second stage focuses on high-density archaeological tourism, developing surrounding sightseeing agriculture, and obtaining capital accumulation; the third stage is the transformation of tourism and tourism into education Tourism, combined with the gradual restoration of the archaeological site and the restoration of the natural environment of the surrounding area. This study ultimately explores landscape strategies that gradually help multi-scale dynamic tourism design in areas, sites, and units to help the agricultural transformation of archaeological surrounding communities, achieve sustainable economics, archaeological heritage protection, and ecological restoration of the natural environment surrounding archaeological surroundings.

Keywords: archaeological tourism; landscape change; heritage conservation; sustainable economy; ecological archaeology

Privatisation or Preservation? Strategies for a Sustainable Future of Hong Kong’s Country Park Enclaves

Abstract

This project discusses the future of country park enclaves in Hong Kong. Over the years, the rising population has aggravated the housing problem in Hong Kong, and there has never been more tension between development and nature conservation. In 2017, the government set up the Task Force for Land Supply to explore options in tackling land shortages, among which development in the periphery of country parks is one of them. Country park enclaves, with a total area of 2076 hectares, will inevitably be included in the discussion of land supply. Nevertheless, it must be kept in mind that the enclaves are an indispensable part of Hong Kong’s rural environment and should not be developed extensively or left unattended. This project discusses the values of country park enclaves, the challenges they are facing, and provides an imagination to the future, in which the ecological and cultural values of the enclaves could be preserved while catering for the need of urban development. The proposed system provides an incentive for the stakeholders to re-establish the deteriorating ecology and preserve existing Feng Shui woodland as part of the cultural landscape while more than 70% of the enclaves are privately owned. It is also intended to prevent further destruction from human settlements for residential use and encourage more usage for ecological and educational purposes. Through monetary incentives and right of building houses, it encourages villagers to re-construct and inherit the cultural landscape and re-establish the community through monitoring and cooperation among the stakeholders. Generally, conservation banking is proposed to prevent the land from further destruction; pollinator plants & Feng Shui species plantation is intended for re-establishing the traditional community forestry management and practice; revitalising agriculture land is proposed to strengthen sense of identity, construct community with common goals, and facilitate cooperation between the villagers and incomers.

Keywords: Hong Kong; country park enclaves; incentive approach; rural sustainability; conservation banking

Ecotone Enhancement under Agricultural Oasis Expansion: Balancing Ecological Protection and Economic Development in Qira Oasis

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the ecotone protection under agricultural oasis expansion in Qira Oasis, located in the southern Xinjiang, north of Kunlun Mountains. The ecotone around the oasis has experienced a rapid decrease since 1970 mainly due to agricultural oasis expansion and limited water resource. Ecotone can help prevent sand storm from invading farmland, acts as a buffer when there is sudden temperature change in the desert area, and helps to maintain vapor and protect biodiversity. However, because of the loss of the ecotone, the sandstorm situation in Qira Oasis is more and more serious, the biodiversity is also decreasing, the local people are in poverty for a long time, and the living environment is also very bad. Now the government has set up ecotone research station in Qira, hoping to help protect the ecotone, improve the living environment of local people and promote economic development. The Strategies of design basically focus on controlling desertification and restricting agricultural oasis expansion, which has been the two main reasons for the shrinking of ecotone. Based on the basic agricultural, climate and economic situations of Qira, the strategies include plant restoration in ecotone area, water saving in agricultural oasis, improving farmland efficiency and returning farmland to ecotone, trying to balance the ecological protection and economic development.

Keywords: ecotone; oasis; natural disaster; agricultural expansion; biodiversity

Less Concrete More Jungle: Rethink the potential of urban concrete in Hong Kong triggered by new material science breakthroughs

Abstract

Cement is one of the most carbon-polluting industries in the global economy due to its heat generated grinding process. About 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions are attributed to concrete manufacturing each year. Hong Kong, as one of the notorious concrete jungles in the world, the expanding reclamation projects and the multilevel metropolis that built on the mountain has all substantiated that how ubiquitous is concrete in this city. However, the breakthroughs in materials science have enabled the concrete industry to obtain a more sustainable production and assembly process. For instance, the new biodegradable concrete, which establishes an organic substrate that can provide a living environment for creature through the net-like structure weaved by plant fibers inside, makes concrete no longer to be a monotonous and non-viable surface. Besides, other progress, like digital fabrication and material recycling, have provided multiple possibilities to challenge the conventional position for concrete in urban construction. Therefore, in responding to the new living concrete system, landscape architects need to re-conceived the existing construction process when using concrete as the building material for urban hardscapes and infrastructure such as roads, engineered slopes, drainage facilities, and structural wall to make way for new lightweight concreteless urban development. The traditional process that mixed sand, aggregate, and water in a large remote factory will also be replaced by a method that can extract the material from the urban natural environment. The new structural details about the conjunction and consumption of the concrete will be transformed due to the progress in materials science, to establish a material ecology of concrete in Hong Kong.

Keywords: concrete; material assemblage; material science; urban infrastructure; Hong Kong

Theoretical Framework and Guideline of Mentally Healthy Landscape for Urban Communities

Abstract

In the process of China’s urbanization, environmental degradation has triggered various health crises, whether the psychological and social problems caused by mental stress, or obesity, and related diseases caused by static lifestyles or health threats from environmental pollution. Problems like this all need to be systematically concerned in the process of promoting a healthy city or healthy community. However, many designers’ prejudices to “health” as it is only the physical health of the body, while ignoring the health of mental conditions and social relations, which lead to health-related designs are relatively simple and less effective. Until the outbreak of the COV19, design industry began to pay attention to real health-related designs. And mental health, as a upstream reason for quite much diseases and social problems, it is increasingly a serious threat to the human well-being of urban residents. This thesis will focus on the community scale design, which is the basic unit of a city and put forward a mental health design guideline and evaluation checklist. Summarize the theoretical framework of a mentally healthy community by combing the important theoretical basis, scientific evidence, and practical experience from multiple related professions in the past 60 years. The framework includes four theoretical pathways for the environment to promote mental health: stress reduction, attention restoration, enhance preference, and enhance sublime. Further, based on the theoretical pathway, there are 21 environmental key features related to healthy communities and connected to the psychological states of individuals caused by environmental characteristics, ultimately point to specific health benefits.

Keywords: mental health crisis; urban community; theoretical framework; key environment feature; design guideline