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Design for Conservation

Design for Conservation

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


Design Analytics Hong Kong

Instructor: Ashley Scott Kelly

At The University of Hong Kong

Course abstract

More than 40% of Hong Kong's 1,080 km2 land area is conserved. At the end of 2016, Hong Kong detailed its commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity through its Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. Given Hong Kong's unremitting development pressures, both pro-development and pro-conservation groups are now calling for ways to evaluate sites for development based on environmental metrics and new conservation agreements. However, for the built-environment disciplines in Hong Kong, sustainability discourse is predominantly aligned with economic and urban sustainability, rather than the new forms of conservation that contend to use environmental modelling to justify the conversion of conservation uses. Hong Kong's uniquely contradictory urban and rural landscapes juxtapose high biodiversity and urban density, with characteristics of customary or indigenous rights, largely artificial yet ecologically rich habitats, and hybrid and ad hoc colonial planning legacies that result in complex forms of environmental management and governance. For Hong Kong's urban and landscape resilience, we must ensure the critical and innovative deployment of conservation instruments and tools, including the analytical measure of biodiversity, vulnerability, and ecosystem services, alongside the territory's increasing politics of sustainability and eco-development.

This advanced computation-theory seminar explores the paradoxes of environmental valuation through a combination of computational design and environmental planning. Similar to past "Design Analytics" seminars, we place equal focus on theory in development geography and technological innovation in parametric geospatial approaches, unleashing the narrative capacity of the design disciplines and building skillsets for working within "natures", patterns, field conditions, and bespoke analytic models. For term projects, students will build highly physical and parametric scenarios of 40+ landscapes across Hong Kong that were converted from conservation uses within the past five years, architecturally documenting their degradation, natural capital, species richness, maintenance, enforcement, and participatory spaces. The ambiguity of green belt (GB) zoning necessitates new modes of negotiation of environmental ethics and economy, especially in Hong Kong's current land development climate. Such ambiguity is a strong entry point for the applied fields of landscape and architecture, as well as an important learning struggle that trains designers to recognize and work within such phenomena.

    Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI, obtained summer 2016) for 40 sites in Hong Kong converted from Green Belt (GB) to Residential (R) between 2010-2015. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2017.
    Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI, obtained summer 2016) for 40 sites in Hong Kong converted from Green Belt (GB) to Residential (R) between 2010-2015. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2017.
    By WONG Hiu Yan Monique, 2017.
    By WONG Hiu Yan Monique, 2017.
    By CHAN Howe, 2017.
    By CHAN Howe, 2017.
    By CHAN Howe, 2017.
    By CHAN Howe, 2017.
    By CHAN Howe, 2017.
    By CHAN Howe, 2017.
    By AU YOUNG Chung Yan Samantha, 2017.
    By AU YOUNG Chung Yan Samantha, 2017.
    By AU YOUNG Chung Yan Samantha, 2017.
    By AU YOUNG Chung Yan Samantha, 2017.
    Map including student project locations, Green Belt conversions, and conservation agreement sites. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2017.
    Map including student project locations, Green Belt conversions, and conservation agreement sites. By Ashley Scott Kelly, 2017.