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Design for Conservation

Design for Conservation

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


Infrastructure scenarios shown at conservation technology symposium in Washington DC

Modelling Infrastructure Scenarios in Data-Poor Regions:
Land change, mitigation strategies, and 3D-printed landscapes

Ashley Scott Kelly, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong
Dorothy Tang, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong
Hanna Helsingen, Green Economy Team Lead, WWF Myanmar
Nirmal Bhagabati, Senior Scientist, Natural Capital, WWF US

A series of 3D-printed surface models detail design solutions for mitigating impacts of new road infrastructure on wildlife habitat and ecosystem services in southern Myanmar. More methodology than pure technology, these models facilitate dialogue on possible futures and exhibit the increasing levels of detail and narrative achievable with innovative approaches to site design in places that otherwise lack specific data and resolution.

Exhibited at World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Fuller Symposium 2015: Wired in the Wild: Can technology save the planet?, National Geographic, Washington DC.

Scenario 1: Hybrid Landscape Approach.
Scenario 1: Hybrid Landscape Approach.
Scenario 1: Hybrid Landscape Approach.
Scenario 1: Hybrid Landscape Approach.
Scenario 2: Engineered Approach.
Scenario 2: Engineered Approach.
Scenario 2: Engineered Approach.
Scenario 2: Engineered Approach.
In-situ studies of three alignment scenarios at three locations along the Dawei road.
In-situ studies of three alignment scenarios at three locations along the Dawei road.

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Preliminary Announcement, Hong Kong Land Development Roundtable

Event Details
Land Development and Conservation in Hong Kong - Roundtable and Workshop

, HKU Faculty of Architecture, venue TBA

Download Event Briefing (2016-02-05)

Description and Rationale
Development debates surrounding conversion of Hong Kong's conservation areas are understandably polarized. These conversations will remain superficial and without traction unless a strategy can be developed for systematically analysing the Development Bureau's "multi-pronged" approaches. While action to improve country park continuity has waned since clear advances two years ago, zoning amendments for some 150 proposed housing locations, almost half within Green Belts, are ongoing to fulfill the Bureau's short-term development goals. Medium- and long-term strategies, including development of country parks and reclamation studies, parallel these efforts. Planners, academics, and citizens must be both supportive and critical of piecemeal and negotiated approaches to development, especially where conservation land uses are at stake. The need for territory-wide dialogue is imminent.

Sustainable development is best achieved with wide access to information, participation and public support. However, most information available to the public is either shown in aggregate across the territory or scaled to individual sites. For these reasons, the Land Development and Conservation in Hong Kong Roundtable and Workshop will showcase the act of analysis and informed spatial debate. The programme for 27 February is half roundtable, half workshop. Following presentations of case studies by academics and think tanks, an open working session is organized around an interactive map of spatially explicit, publicly available information to simultaneously deepen and broaden development and conservation debates.

Diagram of Hong Kong Green Belt government-proposed housing sites

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Announcing DCAM Pilot for Tanintharyi, Myanmar

The Development and Conservation Awareness Map (DCAM) is being piloted in Myanmar's Tanintharyi Region with civil society groups and international NGOs. The objective is to coordinate often contradictory knowledge of development projects, at any stage of planning and operation, impacting the region and to facilitate dialogue. This is paramount given the current climate of domestic and international investment in Tanintharyi, the complex state of dual-administration, the simultaneous presence of several international NGOs, the persistence of displaced persons and ethnic conflict, the drafting of new land use plans, forest laws, and impact requirements, and not least the region's critical ecological value. As new plans for projects are discovered or as existing projects change course, they can be added to the map via simple drawing tools, uploading, and commentary by the platform's diverse user groups.

Development and Conservation Awareness Map for Dawei

This effort to compile and present spatially explicit data is not alone in Myanmar, and in fact, several are in the pipeline for pilot in Tanintharyi. DCAM is at most meant to fulfil a transitional but necessary role, importantly to facilitate equitable dialogue during the ongoing formalization of land uses in conflict regions. DCAM recognizes the importance of Tanintharyi's very recent conflict histories; in the coming months, the platform's "chapters" will be expanded to include zoomable maps that narrate the evolution of development and conservation conflicts in Tanintharyi since the late 1980s. DCAM is also developed as a pedagogical tool in use at the University of Hong Kong to both coordinate and disseminate innovative landscape planning strategies developed in programs in landscape architecture. These maps and strategies provide insight into geographic and landscape knowledge from outside the environmental, biological and social sciences.

Geotagged photos and landscape planning projects.
Geotagged photos and landscape planning projects.
User commentary and file sharing.
User commentary and file sharing.
Deforestation 2000-2014.
Deforestation 2000-2014.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Land use change along the Dawei-Myitta road

WWF-Myanmar, scientists from Stanford's Natural Capital Project, and Ashley Scott Kelly recently took government officials along the Dawei-Myitta road to explain land use change, erosion control, slope stabilization, and other principles of sustainable transport infrastructure and development. Participants included members from nine departments, including the Ministries of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF), Agriculture, and Construction.

Ministry officials along the Dawei-Myitta road

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WWF Publishes Recommendations for Dawei

Ashley Scott Kelly and Dorothy Tang co-authored a report with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Myanmar on the Dawei-Kanchanaburi road link.

WWF, A Better Road to Dawei: Wildlife in Tanintharyi
Diagram: AS Kelly; Photo: H Helsingen.

Authors: Hanna Helsingen (WWF), Sai Nay Won Myint (WWF), Nirmal Bhagabati (WWF), Adam Dixon (WWF), Nasser Olwero (WWF), Ashley Scott Kelly (University of Hong Kong), and Dorothy Tang (University of Hong Kong).

WWF Position on the Dawei Project:

"Given that the proposed Dawei Industrial Development project and associated road to Thailand have been approved and are likely to be built in the coming years, WWF has significant concerns about the potential impacts on the globally important biodiversity of the Tanintharyi Region, including tiger habitat, dense forests, species-rich rivers and marine resources, which are a critical resource for local communities.

"The Dawei Project cannot avoid impacting the environment and communities in the region, but WWF believes that those impacts must be minimized by careful planning and use of mitigation measures throughout the process, from design to development to completion and beyond.

"WWF calls on the governments of Thailand and Myanmar, as well as the project's developers, to first carry out a comprehensive strategic environmental assessment, including social impacts, of the project, including the sea port, industrial zone and associated industries and the road between the Myanmar Special Economic Zone and Thailand. WWF also recommends that the results of the assessments, be used by technical experts, community representatives, and the project developers to design the project in a way that prioritizes the value of the region's critical ecosystem services, biodiversity and community needs. Negative environmental impacts from the Dawei project should be monitored and mitigated before, during and after construction and fair compensation provided for those affected."

Download report PDF (10 MB):
A Better Road to Dawei: Protecting Wildlife, Sustaining Nature, Benefiting People

WWF, A Better Road to Dawei: Front cover
WWF, A Better Road to Dawei: Overview of transboundary corridor
Diagram: AS Kelly.
WWF, A Better Road to Dawei: How roads impact nature
Diagram: AS Kelly.
WWF, A Better Road to Dawei: Tiger habitat corridor model
Diagram: AS Kelly; Model: A Dixon.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Design on the Road to Burma, Studio Review

HKU undergraduate landscape students presented their designs for the Tenasserim border region of Myanmar. The jury consisted of members from WWF-Myanmar and HKU's Faculties of Architecture and Medicine, Experiential Learning Centre, Department of Civil Engineering, and School of Biological Sciences.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Thailand-Myanmar SEZ Fieldwork

Over the past two weeks, HKU undergraduate landscape students travelled from Thailand to Myanmar to study regional planning of the Dawei-Kanchanaburi corridor and Special Economic Zone. Preceding the trip, the group spent 5 weeks producing a 200-page research report, of maps, timelines and diagrams, contextualising the SEZ across industry, investment, land rights, ethnic conflicts, and environmental conservation. During travel, students presented their work to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), Fauna and Flora International (FFI), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), The Border Consortium (TBC), EcoDev, and the Dawei Development Association (DDA). The field tour was led by Assistant Professors Ashley Scott Kelly and Dorothy Tang.

Ashley, Dorothy, and the 19 students from the HKU's Division of Landscape Architecture extend their thanks to past and present members of DDA for both hosting and connecting; Spirit in Education Movement (SEM); MOECF's team at the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve Project; the village of Kalonehtar for their hospitality; Bia and her team at TBC's Kanchanaburi field office; Adelle and Annika at TBC Bangkok; Hanna, Win and Sai from WWF; May, Kyaw Thinn Latt, and team from WCS; Mark and Patrick from FFI; Tony and his team at EcoDev; and to the University of Hong Kong's Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Centre and Faculty of Architecture for generous support of the trip.

View photos from the March 2015 field visit.

Preliminary report on Dawei region
Preliminary report on Dawei region
Preliminary report on Dawei region

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)