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Design for Conservation

Design for Conservation


Environmental Futures Studio: Hong Kong

Master of Landscape Architecture students presented their projects for Environmental Futures Studio: Design, nature and the erosion of conservation in Hong Kong. Jury members included representatives from Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Greenpeace, HKU ecologists and land development experts, and local civil society, including Designing Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Wetland Conservation Association.

During the term, students were immersed in the methods and tools of other disciplines engaging development, including: 1) Landscape and biodiversity modelling techniques for measuring connectivity, fragmentation, and species richness, questioning issues of data quality, scientific bias, reductive methodologies, and disciplinary blindspots; and 2) Concepts from anthropologist Tim Choy's book "Ecologies of Comparison: An Ethnography of Endangerment in Hong Kong", in which students developed critical understandings of public participation and environmental advocacy, including expertise, evidence, discourse analysis, counter-knowledge, and universal values. These exercises were complemented by seminars on Hong Kong's legal, planning and assessment tools related to conservation, as well as discussions on disciplinary boundaries of sustainability sciences to help students better articulate their own expertise as landscape architects and planners.

For the second half of the term, the 12 students designed scenarios of development and environmental value in major conservation issues in Hong Kong. Some examples included:

  • Redrawing ecological baselines of agricultural and wetland development sites in Yuen Long, based on more thorough understandings of specific sites' environmental histories;
  • Salvaging science and challenging transparency through scenarios of developmental and environmental uncertainty in Tai Ho Wan;
  • Problematizing the timescales of ecology and development planning (e.g., public participation, judicial review, ecological assessment) at eight sites of green belt conversion in Tai Po;
  • Debating conservation outcomes under hypothetical agricultural land banking and release mechanisms in Yuen Long, triggered through enforcement of high and low EIA standards;
  • Exploring alternatives to habitat-based ecological assessment at Sha Lo Tung; and
  • Challenging definitions of "conservation" and "public" through priority-setting, monitoring, and alternative management of landscapes along country park edges.
  • Thank you to students and their panelists for an engaging discussion!

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Beyond the baseline: Problematizing biodiversity assessment of agricultural and wetland sites in Hong Kong. By CHONG Yan Suen Ceas, 2018.
Beyond the baseline: Problematizing biodiversity assessment of agricultural and wetland sites in Hong Kong. By CHONG Yan Suen Ceas, 2018.
Beyond the baseline: Problematizing biodiversity assessment of agricultural and wetland sites in Hong Kong. By CHONG Yan Suen Ceas, 2018.
Beyond the baseline: Problematizing biodiversity assessment of agricultural and wetland sites in Hong Kong. By CHONG Yan Suen Ceas, 2018.
Salvaging science and challenging transparency through scenarios of developmental and environmental uncertainty in Tai Ho valley. By FAN Junyi Roy, 2018.
Salvaging science and challenging transparency through scenarios of developmental and environmental uncertainty in Tai Ho valley. By FAN Junyi Roy, 2018.
"Conservation" and "public" in the environmental future of Hong Kong's Country Parks. By CHAN Ka Ying May, 2018.
"Conservation" and "public" in the environmental future of Hong Kong's Country Parks. By CHAN Ka Ying May, 2018.
Illegal opportunity: Speculative scenarios of conservation-oriented development in Sai Kung Country Park enclaves. By ZHOU Yifan Mia, 2018.
Illegal opportunity: Speculative scenarios of conservation-oriented development in Sai Kung Country Park enclaves. By ZHOU Yifan Mia, 2018.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Belt and Road Workshop with Duke University

Duke-Kunshan University, together with Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Center for International and Global Studies, hosted a conference on Environmental, Geostrategic, and Economic Dimensions of the Silk Road Economic Belt from 12-17 October, 2018. Following two days on economic and policy dimensions, a three-day session called "Developing Spatial Solutions to Environmental Impacts of Infrastructure Development" brought together participants from government, academia, multilateral banks, NGOs, and technology firms with ongoing projects and studies related to China's Belt and Road Initiative. Ashley Scott Kelly presented "Engaging infrastructure development through critical design practice: Campaigns in Southeast Asia", which showcased his geospatial-focused projects on design and impact assessment.

Abstract:

Engaging infrastructure development through critical design practice: Campaigns in Southeast Asia

Large-scale development, such as road-building, often progresses slowly, outlasting governments, evading principled environmental legislation, and changing investors, scopes, and designs. Conservation efforts here require sustained momentum and diverse forms of practice and expertise that can facilitate informed decision-making, importantly in the absence of otherwise crucial information. Through a cultural-technological campaign, which includes a species-specific road design manual, downscaled wildlife movement and ecosystem services modelling, 3D-printed stakeholder engagement models, and automated geospatial investigations and counter-assessments, this lecture will showcase transdisciplinary approaches and opportunities for landscape architecture to proactively engage development. Such engagement, whether it's applied, advocacy-, activist-, or action-oriented in development, raises important contradictions that result in considerable institutional, academic, disciplinary, and practical challenges. Carried out by landscape designers in collaboration with policy experts, biologists and geographers, this work offers an urgently needed model of design collaboration and has been disseminated to national and regional levels of government, developers, civil society, and agencies across South and Southeast Asia.

Developing Spatial Solutions to Environmental Impacts of Infrastructure Development Workshop

Duke-Kunshan University Belt and Road Workshop, 2018.
Duke-Kunshan University Belt and Road Workshop, 2018.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Landscape Connectivity Workshop

Ashley Scott Kelly delivered a talk titled "Critical Linkages" at the "Landscape Connectivity Workshop" hosted by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India) in New Delhi on 7-9 May. The three-day event brought together experts from India, Nepal, China, Russia, Mongolia, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Spain and the United States to work with more than 60 representatives from the IUCN, the Global Tiger Forum, governments and international conservation NGOs. The workshop addressed issues of identification and design, lessons from long term corridor programs, monitoring corridors, corridor policy, genetics and climate change, and emerging fields in connectivity conservation for habitats ranging from snow leopard and elephant to rhino and tiger landscapes. Ashley presented on his current work developing guidelines for linkage modelling for complex landscapes under varying levels of data availability, development transparency and expertise.

WWF Landscape Connectivity Workshop

WWF Landscape Connectivity Workshop, 2018.
WWF Landscape Connectivity Workshop, 2018.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Studio Laos Final Review

HKU landscape undergraduates defended their design and regional planning strategies for northern Laos today in front of a cross-disciplinary panel of experts on environmental impact, politics and administration, geography, sociology, architecture and planning. Students and faculty were honored to have Dr. Ng Shui Meng, former Deputy Representative for UNICEF Laos and wife of 2012 disappeared Laos civil society leader Sombath Somphone, join from Vientiane.

Students addressed a wide range of impacts related to the planning, construction and operation of the China-Laos Railway. Some dealt with the uncertainly going forward, some questioned how communities could have prepared themselves differently, and some argued for greater responsibility of the rail, road, dam, or mine developer. Topic areas included:

Cross-border conservation and alternative ecotourism models;
China-Laos Railway support infrastructure, material sourcing, waste, reuse, and environmental impact;
Resettlement planning, compensation, and capacity building along the corridor;
Mitigating agricultural intensification and mining investment; and
Tourism capacity and urban expansion.

Congratulations to all for an incredible term!

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HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway. By Aristo Chan.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway.
HKU students present their planning and design strategies for the China-Laos railway.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

Evaluating Land and Land Supply Strategies in Hong Kong

Saturday, 21 April 2018, 11:30-13:00

H6 CONET
G/F, The Center, 99 Queen's Road Central

Speakers:
YEUNG Ha-chi, Liber Research Community
Camille LAM, Liber Research Community
Ashley Scott KELLY, Division of Landscape Architecture, HKU

This second HKILA forum on land supply will address the technical and regulatory complexity of how landscapes are evaluated for development. 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. For urban and landscape resilience, we must ensure the critical and innovative deployment of conservation and impact assessment instruments and tools, including the measure of biodiversity, vulnerability, and ecosystem services. This forum will outline some of the data, knowledge, and arguments necessary to help make decisions, practice and participate in Hong Kong's ongoing land supply initiatives.

This event is free and open to the public.
Register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLS...

HKILA Land Supply Forum Hong Kong.
HKILA Land Supply Forum Hong Kong.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)

HKU Landscape Students Visit Laos

University of Hong Kong (HKU) students studying landscape planning recently traveled the planned route of the China-Laos Railway to learn of the opportunities brought by development and immense changes underway along the 400-kilometer corridor. As part of a course in HKU's Division of Landscape Architecture, students will create scenarios and speculative strategies related to the railway's environmental and social impact and its supporting infrastructure, as well as sustainable agriculture and forestry, conservation, and tourism planning along the length of the rail corridor.

During their visit, the students presented and received feedback on their preliminary studies, which synthesized three decades of land planning, conservation and ecotourism, drug eradication, watershed planning and hydropower development, corporate and artisanal mining, and the timber trade in northern Laos. Investments over the last 30 years have resulted in both positive and negative outcomes, and we must be diligent in finding innovative ways to ensure the sustainability of Laos, its people and landscapes.

The students and their instructors, Ashley Scott Kelly and Xiaoxuan Lu, send a very warm thanks to all those in Lao civil society and the international community who made our visit a productive learning experience.

Tunnel portal under construction for China-Laos Railway. By Ashley Scott Kelly.
Tunnel portal under construction for China-Laos Railway. By Ashley Scott Kelly.
HKU students presenting their studies in Laos.
HKU students presenting their studies in Laos.
HKU Student 6-week Preliminary Research Book (180 pp).
HKU Student 6-week Preliminary Research Book (180 pp).
Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong.
Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong.
Nam Tha River. By Ashley Scott Kelly.
Nam Tha River. By Ashley Scott Kelly.
Boten Special Economic Zone at China-Laos border. By Ashley Scott Kelly.
Boten Special Economic Zone at China-Laos border. By Ashley Scott Kelly.

Posted by: (Design for Conservation)