Friday, April 16, 2010

The Effective Terrain

New and revised abstract-

Synthesizing water, energy and agricultural infrastructures for desert living.

In the current context of escalating climate catastrophes paralleled with depleting energy resources, degrading fresh water supplies and diminishing agricultural cultivating lands there is an increasing preoccupation with the prospects of a fast approaching global crisis. Arid regions, which under normal circumstances are places of acute extremes, are projected to be afflicted by these scarcities more profoundly. Since drylands are places in which survival hangs on a most fragile equilibrium any anomaly or scarcity can be detrimental the system’s viability. Alternatively, due to their unique ecosystem properties, not to be found in other more moderate environments, deserts can represent places of immeasurable potential for a prosperous subsistence.

The Negev desert which makes about two thirds of the land area of Israel is employed as a case study. The thesis investigation follows three narratives. FERTILE VISIONS explores the ethos of blooming the desert and the dangers inherent to realized utopias. EPHEMERAL FLOWS constructs a comprehensive framework of the Negev’s ecosystem, while mapping the operating forces and their affect on the system’s stability. VITAL SIGNS is a catalogue of strategies, systems and technologies in the fields of water management, solar energy and controlled environments. Their juxtaposition starts to suggest plausible hybrids.

Finally, EFFECTIVE TERRAINS defines design strategies for desert infrastructural systems. It envisions a prototype community planned through the synthetic interweaving of the existing Wadi Pharan ecosystem characteristics with water harvesting and purification, intensive solar energy generation and greenhouse agriculture production.