Three experts spoke about landscape architecture projects designed to support and regenerate the surrounding environment. Participants gained unique insights into different planning processes that focused on responsible construction initiatives along the water.
Fokko van der Goot
Fokko spoke about the principle of building with nature, and an application in Demak, Indonesia where traditional farming methods led to ground subsidence, flooding and erosion. The solution combined mangrove restoration and training of local farmers in sustainable aquaculture of fish and shrimp ponds. The project thus incorporated coastal engineering methods with a social-educational approach in a successful collaboration between local, national and international partners. The result: shoreline stabilization, higher quantity and quality of local sea produce, and a threefold increase in farmers’ income.
Edmundo Colón Izquierdo
Edmundo presented on advocacy as a tool for raising environmental awareness, building coalitions and implementing responsible design. Two major hurricanes hit Puerto Rico in 2017, releasing funds for the completion of unfinished infrastructure projects. One such project is a decades-old plan of the Río Piedras by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Edmundo partnered with other locals to form the Alianza por la Cuenca del Río Piedras: a network of professionals providing both information and technical assistance to local communities, stakeholders and the USACE project team.
Gena spoke about design for invertebrates. While small and seemingly insignificant, invertebrates are crucial to the survival of human life on Earth. They aid in pivotal biological processes such as pollination, pest control, and medicine and research. Planning and construction projects often overlook invertebrate habitats, putting a vast percentage of their populations at risk. However, landscape design that supports invertebrates is possible. Gena showcased several projects integrating healthy invertebrate environments into the overall design. One such project proposed that landowners devote 30% of their back yard to diverse insect habitats.