The New Zoo: Designing Global Co-Habitats
THE NEW ZOO
Designing global co-habitats
This studio will aim to bring new thinking to global wildlife conservation. We will map the interrelated phenomena of local formal and informal economies, governance, and wildlife patterns at pilot sites around the globe, and visualize future scenarios for positive change. The field of conservation is evolving from a philosophy of solely protecting “wild areas” to engaging local community programs and economies. In addition, in the last couple of years, the concept of “conservation-reliant species,” which require active management to survive, has emerged. We will work across the fields of architecture, landscape, biology, sociology and economics towards a synthetic approach to these environment and development issues with an understanding that humanity and the animal world share a common fate on a crowded planet.
Contradictions between environment and development, wilderness and city, local and global dynamics will be examined relative to finding productive interfaces and to develop a philosophical approach about the role of architecture in an interconnected and increasingly warmer world. We will explore eco-tourism, agro-forestry, live-work, bio-banks, micro-finance and other hybrid programs towards generating positive synergies and potentials. The end goal will be to develop a strategic toolkit for each site that can direct the anticipated growth and change towards the improvement of social and economic conditions that work in tandem with wildlife conservation goals. The intention is that the work produced have a value beyond the studio, therefore we intend to communicate with The WCS/Earth Institute to develop a range of design speculations in the form of implementable toolkits and guidelines. It is anticipated that projects will address issues of architectural and landscape form, planning strategies, community dynamics, politics, wildlife stewardship, and governance relative to the joint built-natural environment.
Students are asked to select one endangered animal “client” (for example, the African wild dog/Botswana, the whooping crane/Texas) and to discover through drawing new potentials and synergies between community development and environmental remediation. You are expected to push the boundaries of software learned during the summer session to describe and visualize challenges and opportunities of wildlife conservation and community dynamics; for example a scripting class may enhance study and prediction of bird migration, geo-tagging, GIS, and other enhanced mapping techniques will be pushed to the limit relative to envisioning relationships between human and animal patterns. Periodically, the studio will engage in seminar-style discussions around assigned readings.
The objectives will be to: (1) examine biodiversity as a concept and a value system 2) look at the state of the planet relative to population and economic trends, and assess conservation assumptions, values and goals and strategies; 3) synthesize the approach of science, design and community development (4) evolve architectural concepts and programming strategies for buildings/landscapes/infrastructures relative to meaningful participation in global issues.