Tag Archives: developing countries

Better Urban Planning Needed To Dodge Disasters

A flooded slum in Manila (Aug 2012) Image credit: Jason Gutierrez/IRIN, www.irinnews.org

Check out the article “Better Urban Planning Needed To Dodge Disasters” on IRIN

With the world’s mega-cities growing even larger, policymakers (especially those in developing countries) need urban planning that will help these areas withstand the impacts of natural disasters.

The article highlights:

  • Developing world will have 4 billion in cities by 2030
  • Urban flooding is a top worry
  • “Compact cities” speed emergency response
  • Colombo’s remedy for flash floods: lakes and pumps

In response to the article - What is the role for landscape architects in planning for urban flooding?

IRIN reports that in Colombo, Sri Lanka the government is digging six new lakes around the capital city in effort to boost rainwater storage. It is also setting up pumping stations at key outlets to the sea to more quickly flush out floodwater during storms.

The planning and design of storm water systems is a very common component of landscape architecture. The profession brings its design and ecology lens to storm water projects aiming to provide richer solutions compered to solely engineering options. This is not saying that engineering options are poor. It is suggesting that storm water projects can benefit from design professions such as landscape architecture.

Landscape architecture is a profession with the skills to make a difference in dodging distastes such as urban flooding.

http://www.irinnews.org/Report/97814/Better-urban-planning-needed-to-dodge-disasters?goback=.gmp_4079228.gde_4079228_member_231191329

Click on the Image or one of the links above to read the article on IRIN

Further reading:
www.irinnews.org

Playground Ideas – Building Playgrounds In Developing Countries

Playground Ideas’ first playground in Chiang Dao, Thailand. Image Credit: Marcus Veerman, www.architectureau.com

Check out the article “Playground Ideas” on ArchitectureAU

Since 2010, Marcus Veerman and his not-for-profit organization Playground Ideas has been helping build playgrounds in developing countries.

“Play is important in the developing world because schools often have few resources … In many schools playgrounds are considered unaffordable. We’re working with communities to create sustainable, affordable solutions to change the culture of education and the design of schools to become more focused on children’s need to play.”

http://www.architectureau.com/articles/playground-ideas/

Click on the Image or one of the links above to read the article on ArchitectureAU by Vanessa Murray.

Further reading:
www.playgroundideas.org

Miss Emily Lowery – What Does Landscape Architecture Look Like In A Developing Country?

Miss Emily Lowery. Image credit: www.missemilylowery.wordpress.com

INTRODUCTION:

Miss Emily Lowery is a budding landscape architect, graphic artist, nature enthusiast, and a piece-together artist. As part of the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Minnesota, Miss Emily Lowery recently completed a project focused on reforestation and cultural restoration on Mfangano Island, Kenya.

What does landscape architecture look like in a developing country?

I was asking myself this question about half way through 2010. I still am, but I’ve gained a bit more experience and education along the way, so I’ll relay what I’ve learned. If you’re interested in the topic of landscape architecture in humanitarian projects, I’m sure you’ve found that there’s a pretty large gap within international development, which landscape architects should be filling. This is a budding area within the field, but I think we’ll be seeing more of it in the upcoming years.

Is there a need? Can you see the relevance, need or place for Landscape Architects in humanitarian projects?

My own personal involvement with landscape architecture in the developing world began when I was able to attend the 2010 UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico. I was able to listen to a number of natural resource specialists as well as designers and other professionals from the building sector who kept returning to the same subjects: lack of natural resources, poor resource use, growing populations and lack of capital to build infrastructure to accommodate increasing populations. When I began looking at what my capstone (A capstone project is your final project that you work on for an entire school year) project might be, I knew I wanted to hit some of these issues. Over the last 10 months, I’ve been working on a reforestation project with an organization called Organic Health Response based in Kenya. This project looked at the indirect drivers of deforestation, economic and food insecurity, and used a framework of small scale interventions as a means to restore canopy in a way that would provide cultural, ecological and economic benefit to the community. That’s a quick summary of the project.

Essentially, my own personal involvement has come about through research and on-the-ground field work and community engagement in Kenya. At the heart of the project, I was trying to get at the question of: when a community’s livelihood depends upon natural resources that are exhausted, or no longer there, how can/does that community find alternatives to meet their daily needs? Like I said, this is a quick summary and if you want to know more details around my experience, I’d be happy to answer them, just let me know.

Mfangano Island, Kenya – The focus of Miss Emily Lowery’s capstone project exploring afforestation, economics, culture and identity. A project in partnership with the Organic Health Response. Image Credit: www.missemilylowery.wordpress.com

What are the current systems for involving Landscape Architects in the field of humanitarian work?

From what I can see, there really are no systems or centralized agencies that connect LAs to this type of work. There’s definitely a gap here. The work is there, but this line of work is new for LAs and there’s no connective tissue facilitating the growth of the field in this direction.

Do you know any humanitarian based projects, landscape groups, or practices that are focusing on these sorts of projects?

Quite frankly, there really aren’t many landscape architects working on humanitarian projects – though there should be. We’ve traditionally been a rich man’s profession, a service for those who can afford it, yet our skill sets have the ability to resolve a myriad of systemic environmental/cultural issues that are at the heart of development challenges in the developing world. One excellent example of a humanitarian based landscape architecture group is the Kounkuey Design Initiative, they’ve done quite a bit of humanitarian work and are a pioneering LA group dedicated to it.

Kibera Public Space Project 01 (KPSP 01) by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI). KDI transforms impoverished communities by collaborating with residents to create low-cost, high-impact built environments (Productive Public Spaces) that improve their daily lives. Image credit: www.kounkuey.org

Further reading:

http://www.missemilylowery.com
http://missemilylowery.wordpress.com
http://organichealthresponse.org
http://www.kounkuey.org