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Design for Conservation

Design for Conservation

Keywords: #design  #conservation  #landscapePlanning  #gis  #infrastructure  #deforestation  #hongKong  #china  #myanmar  #nepal  #amazon  #mekong 


Land Development vs Conservation Game with Storefront for Art and Architecture

New York-based Storefront for Art and Architecture, in partnership with Hong Kong Design Trust, held events across Hong Kong from 7-9 July as part of Storefront IS (International Series) Hong Kong. The three-day program included public city walks on urban transformation, dialogues on cross-border issues, and mixed-media performances exploring density, sustainability and development.

At the closing event, Ashley Scott Kelly hosted a game titled "Land Development vs Conservation Hong Kong". The game challenged participants to propose alternative sites for a new housing estate, taking into account an array of statutory regulations, development costs, and ecological characteristics. Teams debated over five maps revealing landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance.

The game boards' area covered approximately 4 square-kilometers centered on Tai Wo Ping, one of the Hong Kong Development Bureau's some 190 potential housing sites, many of which are located in Green Belts. This controversial site was raised for judicial review in 2015 because its tendering process included slope maintenance works within a large portion of Lion Rock Country Park.

For scoring, a grid of 50 x 50-meter squares was overlaid on each map, summarizing that map's developmental and environmental costs. The team that selected a development site with the least total cost won. Additionally, teams were given the opportunity to "swap" or trade 0.5 hectares of their chosen site with an area of lower development cost, so long as that new area was exceptional in its environmental or conservation value.

This game uses a scoring system that challenges players to assign value to places based on qualities that aren't easily comparable yet must be considered. While these maps are but a small sampling of all ecological criteria necessary for sustainable development planning, the game sparks dialogue and raises awareness of such criteria, encouraging a wider understanding of development threats and opportunities across the territory. The game does include controversial components, such as reductive environmental valuation and "swapping" or trading of Green Belt areas, however, it is created in the spirit that increased knowledge leads to more rational debate. Lastly, these maps are an approximation of actual information and do not necessarily draw from the sources noted (remember, it's a game!).

Credit for the idea and format of the game is given to Stanford's Natural Capital Project and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), who created similar games for protected area planning.

Teams play Land Development vs Conservation Hong Kong, a landscape planning game, at Storefront IS Hong Kong
Teams play Land Development vs Conservation Hong Kong, a landscape planning game, at Storefront IS Hong Kong
Landscape planning game uses one of HK Development Bureau's planned housing development sites
Landscape planning game uses one of HK Development Bureau's planned housing development sites
Game participants consider landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance
Game participants consider landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance
Game participants consider landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance
Game participants consider landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance
Game participants consider landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance
Game participants consider landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance
Game participants consider landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance
Game participants consider landscape character, vegetation and species richness, land cover, zoning, land vacancy, and features such as landslide risk and slope maintenance
Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure with ADB and WWF

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), together with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Vietnam's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, hosted the Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrating Climate Resilience and Natural Capital into Transport Infrastructure Planning and Design on May 17 and 18 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

During the forum, Ashley Scott Kelly presented innovative ways that design-level considerations can drive sustainable infrastructure planning. His talk, "Infrastructure, Impact and Uncertainty: Scenario-based approaches to upstream design, wildlife connectivity and sustainable construction in transport planning for southern Myanmar", included work on the Dawei Road Link with Dorothy Tang at HKU, WWF, and Smithsonian.

The event convened planners, engineers and climate specialists alongside government ministries, multilateral banks, bilateral aid agencies, infrastructure finance investment firms, NGOs and academia. The forum was divided into five sessions, covering: 1) Designing ecologically sensitive transport infrastructure; 2) Building resilient infrastructure working with nature and bioengineering; 3) Facilitating finance for sustainable infrastructure; 4) Improving options with better planning; and 5) Strengthening the enabling environment.

The forum was attended by high-level officials, including a large delegation from Myanmar: Directors General of the Ministries of Construction and Rail Transportation, and Directors and Deputies from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, Highways, Investment, and Transport and Communications. Government ministries also joined from China, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao, and Vietnam. Experts attended from institutions and organizations from across Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas.

http://www.gms-eoc.org/events/forum-on-sustainable-infrastructure-

Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrating Climate Resilience and Natural Capital into Transport Infrastructure Planning and Design
Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrating Climate Resilience and Natural Capital into Transport Infrastructure Planning and Design
Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrating Climate Resilience and Natural Capital into Transport Infrastructure Planning and Design
Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrating Climate Resilience and Natural Capital into Transport Infrastructure Planning and Design
Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrating Climate Resilience and Natural Capital into Transport Infrastructure Planning and Design
Forum on Sustainable Infrastructure: Integrating Climate Resilience and Natural Capital into Transport Infrastructure Planning and Design
Design on the Road to Burma, Final Review

Final-year HKU undergraduates in landscape architecture defended their design strategies today for southern Myanmar. Many of their designs built credible scenarios of how changes in landscape management and planning and design scopes can mitigate development and conservation conflicts, especially in areas of weak governance and environmental regulation.

View course page

Final review for Design on the Road to Burma 2017.
Final review for Design on the Road to Burma 2017.
Minnie CHU Lok Yan presenting project From Ethnic to Wildlife Conflict: Ecological corridors and refugee repatriation on the upper Tanintharyi River.
Minnie CHU Lok Yan presenting project From Ethnic to Wildlife Conflict: Ecological corridors and refugee repatriation on the upper Tanintharyi River.
Critics debate the possible futures of the Dawei Special Economic Zone.
Critics debate the possible futures of the Dawei Special Economic Zone.
Daisy LAU Tik Sze presents her project on alternative economies for community forestry and the defunding of Tanintharyi Nature Reserve Project.
Daisy LAU Tik Sze presents her project on alternative economies for community forestry and the defunding of Tanintharyi Nature Reserve Project.
Natalie KHOO Ting Fung defends her project Programming the Forest: Non-zoned approaches to customary rights in Tanintharyi Nature Reserve.
Natalie KHOO Ting Fung defends her project Programming the Forest: Non-zoned approaches to customary rights in Tanintharyi Nature Reserve.
HKU Students Return to Southern Myanmar

For the third year, final-term undergraduate students from the University of Hong Kong, led by Ashley Scott Kelly and assisted by Maxime Decaudin, travelled overland from Thailand to Myanmar to study regional development and conservation impacts in Myanmar's Tanintharyi Region. Preceding the trip, the students spent 6 weeks producing a 120-page research report that combined detailed timelines on investment and conservation, regional case studies, and site-specific studies on landscape processes from mining extraction to wildlife movement. During their travel, the students visited large industrial estates along Thailand's Eastern Seaboard, including Map Ta Phut and Laem Chabang, Dawei's resettlement housing and community forest programmes, met with several Myanmar civil society organizations and international environmental NGOs, and participated in a village-led conservation ceremony.

The students, Maxime, and Ashley extend their thanks to the people of Michaunglaung, the people of Kamoethway, Rays of Kamoethway Indigenous People and Nature, Dawei Development Association, Spirit in Education Movement, forestry officials at the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve Project, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

View photos from the field

Dawei-Phunamron Road Link access road. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Dawei-Phunamron Road Link access road. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate on Thailand's Eastern Seaboard. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate on Thailand's Eastern Seaboard. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Interfaith celebration of 3rd anniversary of Kamoethway Fish Conservation Zone. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Interfaith celebration of 3rd anniversary of Kamoethway Fish Conservation Zone. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Students meeting with Michaunglaung village to discuss TNRP Corporate Social Responsibility program. Photo Maxime Decaudin.
Students meeting with Michaunglaung village to discuss TNRP Corporate Social Responsibility program. Photo Maxime Decaudin.
Dawei SEZ main road. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Dawei SEZ main road. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Automated Monitoring of Illegal Wildlife Trade in Hong Kong

Illegal Wildlife Trade in Hong Kong, Automated notification of potential cases in the judiciary

To help efforts limiting or banning the trade in endangered species, Design for Conservation is hosting an automated notification system that searches Hong Kong's daily court listings for potential wildlife crime related offenses.

Hong Kong's Customs and Excise Department reports a recent increase in the market value of illegal wildlife seizures in Hong Kong totalling HK$ 117 million for the five-year period ending October 2015. They further estimate only a 10% seizure success rate.

The Hong Kong Judiciary's Daily Cause Lists "provide[s] members of the public with information on the schedule of court hearings and related matters" by 18:30 the day preceding these cases. As the listings are difficult to browse, users of this automated monitoring system will be informed via email roughly around the same time with specific cases involving species from CITES Appendix I, II and III, violations of the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, and even potentially related cases involving unmanifested cargo.

To sign up for notifications, please send a request to [email protected]

Visualized below are Hong Kong's 2015 imports of endangered Species. Appendix I species, such as elephant, rhino, and tiger, are shown in Red, while Appendix II and III trades are shown in gray.

Hong Kong Trade in Endangered Species 2015
Hong Kong Trade in Endangered Species 2015

As an aside, this map is drawn in the Cahill-Keyes map projection, which displays country areas and shapes more accurately than common web mapping systems. Additionally, older maps showing global trade and financing of environmental programs are included here for comparison:
1) 2010 China Tropical Timber Trade in Rough and Sawn Wood, shown in Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area;
2) Comparison of global NGO biodivesity regions, shown in Waterman; and
3) 2012 Global Distribution of REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programs), shown in Fuller's Dymaxion projection.

2010 China Tropical Timber Trade in Rough and Sawn Wood
2010 China Tropical Timber Trade in Rough and Sawn Wood
Global Biodiversity Regions, as declared by Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature, and International Union for Conservation of Nature
Global Biodiversity Regions, as declared by Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature, and International Union for Conservation of Nature
Global Distribution of REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programs), 2012
Global Distribution of REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programs), 2012
Studio Nepal: Designing nature, standards, and discontinuities in the Himalayas

On December 6th, HKU MLA students presented their final landscape planning projects for Nepal. Their 12 project proposals followed one of three approaches:

1) Creating complex scenarios in data-poor areas of the Terai plains by technically generating sites (for design) that bring out subtle differences in land cover and topography. These projects deal with the mitigation and long-term planning, for both communities and wildlife connectivity, of highway, rail and irrigation infrastructure.

2) Parameterizing landscape technologies and responses along planned road upgrades in the Mid Hills. These projects address difficulties in scope-setting between road construction, geophysical complexity, and the necessity to couple road building with broad land management programs.

3) Critiquing EIA scopes in a series of hydropower projects, including their associated roads and transmission lines. These projects focus on alternative approaches to defining (or designing) project scope.

View course page

Fabricating Site: Nuanced scenario modelling and infrastructural strategies for Karnali River floodplain. Project by Zikai Zhang.
Fabricating Site: Nuanced scenario modelling and infrastructural strategies for Karnali River floodplain. Project by Zikai Zhang.
Preliminary studio research panels
Preliminary studio research panels
Hong Kong Brownfield Study, WWF

WWF Hong Kong released a study today showing a 90% increase in brownfield applications over the last 15 years. Hong Kong's planning strategy should consider the practicality, and in many cases legality, of retaining current uses, especially given recent conversions for residential development of Green Belt and areas of potential environmental value. WWF's report illustrates that 78% of brownfield sites occupy land outside "Open Storage" zones and are in many cases inconsistent with surrounding land uses.

Download study leaflet

Research: Ken Chan
Authors: Ken Chan, Shirley Poon, Gavin Edwards, Dr. Michael Lau
Advisor: Ashley Scott Kelly (HKU)

WWF Hong Kong Brownfield Study
WWF Hong Kong Brownfield Study
WWF Hong Kong Brownfield Study
WWF Hong Kong Brownfield Study
WWF Hong Kong Brownfield Study
WWF Hong Kong Brownfield Study
WWF Hong Kong Brownfield Study
WWF Hong Kong Brownfield Study
HKU Landscape Students Travel to Nepal

Master of Landscape Architecture students from the University of Hong Kong travelled in early November from Kathmandu to Chitwan national park to study the impacts of large-scale infrastructure on the environmental conservation and development. Throughout September and October, the students researched three related areas: 1) Infrastructure investment trends and their relationship to political turmoil and environmental disaster; 2) Nepal's "failed" development and common misconceptions in development approaches, focusing on geophysical processes (e.g., erosion, landslides) and agricultural and other land management issues; and 3) Forest management, with a focus on Nepal's wide spectrum of community forestry. During the first week of November, students traveled Nepal's central north-south corridor from Kathmandu to Chitwan and met with major international NGOs, including WWF's linear infrastructure team and ICIMOD at their project demonstration grounds, local landscape academics and design offices, and community forest user groups. The students were led by Assistant Professor Ashley Scott Kelly of HKU's Division of Landscape Architecture.

The group would like to extend their greatest thanks to: Professor Bharat Sharma, Centre for Integrated Urban Development, Tribhuvan University; the Kerunga Community Forest User Group; Lok Bahadur Kuwar from Kasara Resort, Chitwan National Park; Neera Pradhan and her team at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu; Priyanka Bista, Rajeev Goyal, and their entire team at KTK-Belt Studio; the Taragon Museum; Rahul Bajracharya for his great help in organizing; and the Worldwide Fund for Nature's Nepal and India offices.

View photos from the field

Narayanghat-Mugling Highway. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Narayanghat-Mugling Highway. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Godavari Knowledge Park. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Godavari Knowledge Park. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Kerunga Community Forest User Group, Chitwan Buffer Zone. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Kerunga Community Forest User Group, Chitwan Buffer Zone. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Meeting with Worldwide Fund for Nature, WWF-Nepal. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.
Meeting with Worldwide Fund for Nature, WWF-Nepal. Photo Ashley Scott Kelly.