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Design for Conservation

Design for Conservation

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


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.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

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.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

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.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Current Statutory Plan Gaps in Hong Kong

Several media outlets recently ran stories on wetland conversion at Tuen Mun's Lung Kwu Tan. The 1.25-hectare site is outside Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) and Development Permission Area (DPA) controls and is nearly 200-meters from a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). While Lung Kwu Tan is one of the largest areas desperately in need of a DPA, several areas throughout Hong Kong lacking such controls pose similar risk to areas of high conservation value.

See SCMP Destruction decried as 1.25-hectare Hong Kong wetland site near butterfly haven is filled in at Tuen Mun's Lung Kwu Tan

The map below, while not fully accurate because of limited data availability, identifies some of the potential conflict areas throughout Hong Kong.

Potential lots outside statutory planning controls.
Potential lots outside statutory planning controls.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Launch: Development and Conservation Awareness Map for Hong Kong

Development and Conservation Awareness Map (DCAM) is a platform that facilitates dialogue by coordinating often contradictory knowledge of development projects, at any stage of planning and operation, impacting the territory. 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 a diverse array of user groups.

The first trial of DCAM was released for southern Myanmar as one among many efforts to close information gaps related to conservation and development ethics.

Launch Interactive Map

Current map layers

DevBApproximately 150 potential housing sites (points) with zoning classes2014-12-31
DevBPotential medium and long-term areas2014-12-31
DevBUnallocated government lands with zoning2012-10-16
CEDDLonglisted reclamation potential2012-01-19
TPBOutline Zoning Plan (Green Belts, Conservation Areas, etc.)2015-09
TPBDevelopment Permission Areas (DPA)2015-08-21
TPBComprehensive Development Areas (CDA)2015-05-04
TPBCountry Park Village Enclave boundaries2010-08
TPBWetland Conservation Area and Buffer Area2014-01-29
PlanDCountry Parks and Special Areas2010-08
AFCDEcologically Important Streams (AFCD precise segment)2015-07-17

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Design Manual for Dawei Road

Tang, D., and Kelly, A.S. (2016). Design Manual: Building a Sustainable Road to Dawei. Worldwide Fund for Nature (Myanmar). 76pp.

The manual combines species profiles and habitat characteristics with a catalog of sustainable road construction technologies and wildlife mitigation measures, and applies them to design scenarios at specific example sites along the Dawei road. Together, this manual and the Wildlife Crossing report a set of critical tools and approaches to planning, design, and maintenance of the Dawei road and similar large-scale infrastructure corridors. Both works target wide audiences and are written and graphically narrated to inform road builders, policy makers, and communities alike of best practices, risks, and the critical value of well-planned sustainable transport infrastructure.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Wildlife Crossing

Kelly, A.S., Connette, G., Helsingen, H., and Paing Soe. (2016). Wildlife Crossing: Locating species' movement corridors in Tanintharyi. Worldwide Fund for Nature (Myanmar). 49pp.

This report is a collaboration between landscape designers, policy strategists, and species biologists from HKU, Smithsonian, WWF, FFI, and WCS. The importance of the study is that it takes abstract regional models from conservation biology developed over the past decade and applies them to site-specific conditions for the design of wildlife crossings where data is extremely limited. A set of principles was developed to reduce the abstraction and potential error in regional models of animal movement rate (proxied by electric circuit theory) and is potentially a breakthrough in multi-species modeling using these techniques, still critiqued as impractical only a year ago. The entire process is automated and outputs an optimized set of potential wildlife crossings as segments, rather than points, to allow flexibility in decision-making during road design and alignment due to costing and local landscape conditions.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Studio Fieldwork in Southern Tanintharyi

University of Hong Kong students students, led by Assistant Professors Ashley Scott Kelly and Dorothy Tang traveled the Myeik-Maw Taung corridor in Myanmar's southern Tanintharyi Region to document conditions and propose landscape planning strategies for large-scale agroindustry, conservation, and associated development. Students presented and met with Fauna and Flora International (in Myeik and Yangon), Norwegian Refugee Council (Myeik), Dawei Development Association (CSO, Dawei), Southern Youth (CSO, Myeik), and Worldwide Fund for Nature (Yangon). Supported by Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Centre.

View photos from the March 2016 field visit.

MSPP oil palm plantation in Tanintharyi District.
MSPP oil palm plantation in Tanintharyi District.
Oil palm and rubber plantations in Myeik District.
Oil palm and rubber plantations in Myeik District.
HKU students at WWF office in Yangon.
HKU students at WWF office in Yangon.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Land Development and Conservation in Hong Kong, Roundtable and Workshop

Day:
Time:
Venue: Lecture Hall T1, Meng Wah Complex (Main Campus), University of Hong Kong

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.

All interested are welcome to attend.

Event programme

  • 10:00 Briefing and case studies roundtable
  • 12:15 Interactive map workshop
  • 13:00 Panel discussion and debate
  • 13:30 Event concludes

Panellists
Prof. Lam Chiu Ying
Adjunct Professor, Geography and Resource Management Department,
Chinese University of Hong Kong

Prof. Tang Bo-Sin
Department of Urban Planning and Design,
Faculty of Architecture, University of Hong Kong

Mr. Chow Sung-Ming
Land Justice League and Department of Applied Social Sciences,
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Mr. Chan Kim Ching & Ms. Camille Lam Tsz Kwan
Liber Research Community

Mr. Paul Zimmerman
CEO, Designing Hong Kong and Southern District Councillor

Mr. Ashley Scott Kelly
Assistant Professor, Division of Landscape Architecture,
Faculty of Architecture, University of Hong Kong

Co-organized with

  • Liber Research Community,
  • Designing Hong Kong,
  • Professional Commons,
  • Land Watch,
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Hong Kong, and
  • Save Our Country Parks.

This event will be conducted in English.

For enquiries, please contact landscape@hku.hk

Event poster

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

3D Terrain Models

3D-printed models of landscape design scenarios for data-poor sites, January 2016
Kelly, A.S., and Tang, D.

A fully automated process takes low-resolution site data, plus assumptions about hydrology, rough land cover delineated from aerials (not multi-spectral), and designed road elements and wildlife mitigation measures, to fabricate much higher-resolution site models than available data permits. Because of the complexity of the surface produced, production is also automated to reduce printer material waste and account for necessary tolerances when working with plant-derived plastics. These are on display in WWF's Yangon office and have been used in stakeholder meetings, including with the Dawei SEZ and road link developer in Bangkok.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)