Modernization Hub

Modernization and Improvement
Landscape Architecture in Latin America: Unpacking Theory, Practice, and Agency, Panel 1

Landscape Architecture in Latin America: Unpacking Theory, Practice, and Agency, Panel 1


Good morning and
welcome everybody to the International
Symposium of Landscape Design in Latin America: Unpacking
Theory, Practice, and Agency. Hi, my name is Alexandra Mei. I am one of the three co-chairs
of Women in Design here at GSD. Our mission as
Women in Design is to advance gender equity, both
in and through our design work at the GSD, while also
acknowledging and celebrating the women practitioners
who are already pushing the bounds
of the design fields. Hi, my name is Juan
Santa Maria and I’m the president of the Latin
GSD student organization. The goal of the Latin GSD is to
spread the discussion of topics that are currently relevant
to the disciplines of design, landscape, urban design, and
planning in Latin America, and, of course, to promote
the integration between people interested in this region. This symposium is a continuation
of a conversation started two years ago by both Women
in Design and Latin GSD, in the symposium titled “Female
Voices in Latin American Architecture” with guests like
Tatiana Bilbao, Frida Escobedo, Cazu Zegers and Carla Juacaba. The discussion was hosted
by GSD faculty members Anita Berritzbeitia and
Mariana Ibanez, opening an important dialogue
from the new generation of talented designers. Now we want to expand
this discussion to the role of landscape
architecture in the Latin American continent,
Advanced through the work of the practitioners you
will hear from today. The conversations today
will bring together eight designers who
approach the landscape through a range of
lenses, including urbanism, architecture,
ecology, and social engagement. We hope to generate
a conversation between theory and
practice, established firms and in emerging voices, and
the role of equity in design, as all are related to how
landscape architecture is currently being defined
in Latin America. So we want to
express our gratitude for the support of
the Harvard GSD Dean’s Office, the Landscape
Architecture Department, the David
Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the
Dean’s Diversity Initiative and the Student Forum. At the same time, we
want to show gratitude for the intellectual support
of Anita Berritzbeitia, [INAUDIBLE], and [INAUDIBLE]. And, finally, we want to thank
the work of the symposium committee formed by Andrea
Soto, [INAUDIBLE], [INAUDIBLE], [INAUDIBLE], [? Claudia ?]
[? Tomotillo, ?] and [? Ron ?] [? Segovia. ?] So unfortunately, Anita will
not be able to join us today, but we are delighted to
introduce Sonja Dumpelmann to give a few opening remarks. Sonja is an Associate Professor
of Landscape Architecture here at the GSD where she teaches
many of our history and theory courses. She holds a PhD in
Landscape Architecture from the University of the
Arts, Berlin and an MLA from the Leibniz
Universitat Hanover. Sonia has created exhibitions
on landscape history in Germany and has worked as a landscape
architect in Studio Paolo Burgi, Switzerland. She has held
research fellowships at the German
Historical Institute and at Dumbarton
Oaks, Washington, DC. Sonja’s work explores the
transatlantic transfer of ideas, the role of politics,
technology, and science, and the work of
women in the field. Sonja will also be moderating
the afternoon panel later today. Please join us in
welcoming Sonia Dumpelmann. So thank you very much,
Juan and Alexandra, for this lovely introduction. So on behalf of
Anita Berritzbeitia and the department,
I would like to begin by thanking the organizers– so again, Alexandra, Juan,
[? Andrea ?] [? Boynton, ?] Ana [? Mayoral ?] and
Andrea Soto Morfin, Maria [? Kolar, ?] Claudia
Tomotillo, Ruben Segovia. I’m sure I’m unfortunately
mispronouncing your names. So please excuse me. I’ll be learning as
this kind of goes on. So anyways, a big
thank you to you all for bringing together kind
of the really distinguished group of speakers today. The GSD student groups Women
in Design and Latin GSD have joined forces, as you
just heard, in putting together two extraordinary panels
with landscape architects, with scholars, and
policy makers from many of the Latin American countries. And I would like to congratulate
all involved on the work that you have done to
get these practitioners and teachers to come
here so that we can all learn from their
experiences and about where the profession and its
teaching in the academy are heading in Ecuador, in
Chile, in Colombia, in Mexico, and in Venezuela. So a big thank you, therefore,
in particular to our speakers today who have taken this
long journey to Cambridge upon themselves to share
thoughts, experience, and expertise. I think I’m probably
the only one involved in this conference who has
not been to Latin America. So while that in some ways
calls up really big red flags, at least I am a woman,
I guess I can say. And I can say that I worked
for a while, as Alexandra mentioned, as a designer in
the office of Paolo Burgi, who often talked about his
mentor, Luis Barragan. But that’s the
closest I have gotten. So, in any case, I am very
curious and eager to learn from our participants
and audience today. So let me begin by saying
that many people in the design professions of the
built environment are familiar with some of the
many well-known 20th century male figures like about
Roberto Burle Marz, Oscar Niemeyer, Lucio Costa,
Luis Barragan who’ve been influential in
Latin American design. We may also be familiar
with [INAUDIBLE], with [INAUDIBLE], with
[INAUDIBLE], and [INAUDIBLE], to name just a few of the
men who came to South America in the first half
of the 20th century and who were fascinated with the
continent and its opportunities for building. Many of us, however, may be
less familiar with the women who have, in various capacities,
been involved in shaping the built environment. So it is particularly delightful
to see this initiative here today that also calls for
some critical reflection on the histories that
have been written to date and that have largely neglected
the female designers, patrons, and clients, without whom many
environments clearly would not be what they are. So a case in point with
regards to landscape architects certainly is Roberto Burle
Marx, who has for a long time overshadowed other landscape
design contributions in Brazil with his, of course, undeniably
skillful and iconic work. I would say he has
not only overshadowed many of his compatriots, but
as [INAUDIBLE] has shown, this almost exclusive attention
to the work by Burle Marx, at least when it comes to
the outside and, perhaps, predominantly
Western recognition and reception of Brazilian
and South American landscape architecture. So European landscape
architects, for example, began becoming enamored with
Burle Marx’s work in the 1950s. So really this
focus on Burle Marx has limited the recognition of
the multi-faceted history that constitutes modern
Brazilian landscape representation and design. It can, therefore, be
useful to note, for example, that the cultural patron
Mina Klabin had already promoted the use of
native tropical vegetation and had, in fact,
already designed some iconic modernist gardens
in Sao Paulo by the time that Burle Marx
was only beginning his studies at the National
School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro. Later in his career,
one of Burle Marx’s most notable projects,
his interventions at the Flamengo
Landfill Park in Rio would not have been possible
without the lobbying and support of the wealthy
patron, Lota Macedo Soares. So Macedo Soares
was well-connected within the circles
of Rio de Janeiro’s cultural and political elite. She had sponsored the work
of modernist designers, including the architect Sergio
[? Bernardes, ?] who built the house she shared with
her longtime companion, the North American poet and
writer, [? Elizabeth ?] Bishop. In her capacity as a
special advisor to the Parks Department, Laura [INAUDIBLE]
Suarez ultimately pulled the strings to realize the
Flamengo [? Landfall ?] Park, providing Bolomarx and
his assistants the opportunity to design several
gardens for differently sized areas along the
bay in the first place. So what we see in
these two examples is that women
often paved the way for men who then became the more
famous and well-known figures. And indeed, there are
several observations that we can make if we look
back at the history of women in landscape architecture
more generally. If we take the late 19th century
as a starting point, when the first professional
organizations were founded in countries like Germany
and the United States, then we can observe that
from the very beginning, women were part of the
international networks of professionals who strove to
promote, establish, and grow the new profession. Many traveled
extensively as part of their own educational and
professional development. And some even practiced
in different countries. And I’m speaking now
about the early 19th– the early 20th century. So they were engaged in
cross-cultural learning, training, and work. They were also
prominent in building the modern educational and
professional institutions of landscape architecture. And their male colleagues,
they contributed to landscape
architectural education through learning and studio
teaching at universities. They began assuming positions
as university professors in the 1940s and 50s. And increasingly
since that time, women have also entered other
parts of public service. Many pioneering female
landscape architects tended to be
comparatively mobile, thus defying the
association of women with the local and domestic and
women’s history with localized histories. Women simply had to be
mobile since training and educational opportunities
for them could not be found in every country. But they did not only travel
for educational purposes, to study, explore sites
and historic landscapes, and to attend conferences. Like their male colleagues,
they designed landscapes in various places,
often traveling hundreds of miles for site visits. And I’m talking about a period
when they were not necessarily even traveling by car. So the stories of female
landscape architects, therefore, require I think
a global and transnational outlook that not only
enables comparison but also an integration
of individual stories into a larger
international context. At the same time, histories of
landscape architecture cannot be told without the study of
the respective local contexts and environments. They are locally
situated or grounded. And female practitioners and
educators cannot necessarily be considered as a group with
a shared agency, either. So it is not for nothing
that despite inviting a group of distinguished female
practitioners and educators, this conference is entitled
Landscape Architecture in Latin America. It is about much more
than questions revolving around gender in
landscape architecture. It is about the current
state of the profession, or perhaps we had better
stay nascent profession. I will actually leave this
up to the participants. And I’m very curious to
hear more and learn more about the state of the
profession in Latin America. This conference is also about
how landscape architecture is defined and organized in
the various Latin American countries and about
how it is taught at the different
educational institutions throughout Latin America. It is also about the
different types of practice that constitute
landscape architecture in this part of the world and
the chances and challenges that professionals
and educators face when it comes to the design,
stewardship, conservation, and maintenance of
design landscapes. So in many ways, the challenges
that Latin American countries have had to face in this last
century have been enormous. And they are enormous. Military coups, dictatorships,
corruption, terrorism, and failing economies
are just some of the more general conditions
that have shaped life and lives in many countries. Besides a growing range
of social challenges, there are also numerous
environmental challenges that professionals working
at the intersections of the various design
professions have to face. As numerous as these and
other challenges appear to be, Latin America also has a wealth
of pre-Columbian as well as colonial and post-colonial
cultural legacies to build upon. This cultural wealth
paired with the high number of different and oftentimes
very extreme habitats and climate zones, as
Alexander von Humboldt taught his fellow Europeans
in the 19th century, expand horizontally
but also vertically throughout the continent. So all these things have
proven a fruitful field for the practice of
landscape architecture, as our participants will attest. It appears that, as in many
other parts of the world, the Latin American
landscapes that are subject to design,
conservation, stewardship, and management are also subject
to a variety of tensions– tensions between modernism as a
cultural expression or product on the one hand and the
lagging modernization of societies and economies
on the other hand, tensions between colonized
and colonists, urban and peri-urban or rural space,
between planned and unplanned space, and between
the professions that are preoccupied with
architecture and landscape. The professionalization
of landscape architecture that I believe in many
Latin American countries is still a relatively recent
or unrealized endeavor and the foundation of the first
training institutions in higher education has also
been an arduous process in many other
countries, as has been the naming of the profession. So for example, in
the United States where the American Society
of Landscape Architects was founded in 1899, the early
self-proclaimed landscape architects had somewhat
reluctantly chosen the term landscape architecture
over landscape gardener, for lack of better options. So recognizing the
importance of formalizing a professional practice,
Frederick Law Olmsted had preferred
landscape architect because it, as he said, better
carries the professional idea. It makes more important,
also, the idea of design, he suggested. And he went on, and
I’m quoting him, “Gardener includes
service corresponding to that of carpenter and mason. Architect does not. Hence, it is more
discriminating and prepares the minds of clients for dealing
on professional principals.” Considering the mere
term architect as name, Olmsted’s disciple
Charles Eliot pointed out that it could not
capture his activity that entailed spatial planning
at regional scales and would lead to
misconceptions. Therefore, Charles
Eliot explained it was important that
the term architect would be preceded by a landscape. Landscape architecture, as Eliot
saw it, was an art of design and covered agriculture,
forestry, gardening, engineering, and even
architecture itself. One of the earliest
professional associations was founded in 1887 in Germany. And it was called the
Association of Garden Artists. Some years later,
another organization, the Association of Garden
Architects, was founded. Both groups remained wedded
to the garden in their titles, which, however, did not
mean that members were only designing spatially-confined
and small landscapes. The opposite was
actually the case. Many British
landscape architects who finally founded the
Institute of Landscape Architects, today’s
Landscape institute, in 1929 held onto the term landscape
gardener into the 20th century. In 1930, the French Society
of Garden Architects was founded followed, in 1931,
by the Danish Association of Landscape Architects,
in 1935 by a Belgian, in 1950 by an
Italian, and in 1976 by a Brazilian association,
to name only a few, of course, in this context. So perhaps some seeds
will be sown today for more and various and
different types of foundations. And in any case, I
really look forward to learning more about landscape
architecture in Latin America from our participants today. So please welcome
our participants. And I look forward
to hearing you all. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] I can do it. I don’t [? need ?] it. Good morning. My name is Gareth. I am an Assistant Professor
of Landscape Architecture and Senior Research
Associate here at the GSD. And I’ve been asked to
moderate the first panel. And it’s a great pleasure
to introduce our speakers. Just before I do,
Sonja’s talk reminded me a little bit of
the summer of 1996 which I spent in the office
of Burle Marx in Rio. And as someone who comes from
Ireland, I, looking back, can say that had it not been
for my, maybe, introduction to Bertie Marx, I may not have
stayed with the profession of landscape architecture. And so landscape
architecture in Latin America has had a very real
impact on my own life. In that summer, I was
looking through some lectures that Burle Marx gave. And right now I am
editing these lectures for publication in English. But in one of them,
he’s described as a landscape gardener. And he crossed it out
and wrote architect. And I’m told that he
was very sensitive to being called a
landscape gardener or to not being called
a landscape architect. So I just something that
came to mind as Sonja was talking about the
history of the profession. I think few people
would disagree that the profession of
landscape architecture is not as strong
in Latin America as it is in other
parts of the world. Yet, in terms of practice and
theory, it is very strong. So I’m really happy that
our first panel this morning is dealing with
practice and theory. And so let me introduce
our first speaker. Ana Maria Duran Calisto is an
architect from Quito, Ecuador. She co-founded the design firm
Estudo A0 2002 after receiving the Master of Architecture
from the University of Pennsylvania– and we studied
there together along with [? Jas, ?] Ana Maria’s husband– and the Universidad
San Francisco de Quito. Estudio A0 has developed
significant projects in Ecuador. And Ana Maria is currently
completing a PhD at UCLA. She’s fantastic at multitasking. And we’re collaborating on a
book project, Conversations on Ecological Urbanism
in Latin America. And it’s interesting to see
how much landscape architecture plays a role in that. So thank you, Ana
Maria, for coming. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, Gary, for that
generous introduction. Thank you to the Latin GSD. I won’t go through all
the names because I don’t want to be unfair with anyone. But Andrea Soto has been
my main interlocutor, so thank you for
your great energy and also to Juan
who’s been helping me with the presentation. Today I’m going to have to sin. I don’t like
reading in lectures, but because I’m going
to be speaking more from the theoretical standpoint,
and I will acknowledge it, I’m speaking more from ignorance
and from a detached external [? observator ?] stance because
I’m not a landscape architect. I deeply admire landscape
architects and the field of landscape architecture, but
I have been practicing more as an architect who has become
very interested in landscape issues. So now that I’m doing
the PhD and this is all Gary’s fault says he
invited me to participate in Chile in a symposium
on ecological urbanism, I started thinking
about, well, what does that mean in Latin
America specifically? And one of the
greatest challenges that I have come across is
that we often engage our minds in finding relationships. And we think that’s difficult. But the hard thing is
to find differences. That’s much more challenging. I feel that finding
relationships has been easier in the case of understanding
landscape architecture in Latin America. But defining what
is it that makes it different from the European
tradition or the North American, well, I include
the US in my definition of Latin America. So I’m just going to speak
about a Pan-American approach and defining difference
with our Asian counterparts in the tropical areas, for
example, is much tougher. And that’s the
challenge that I wanted to take on in because I do
believe there are patterns and that there are differences. Two indexes, we could call
them like measurements of the proliferation
of Latin Americans’ fascination with this paradigm
of ecological urbanism are for me, one, the fact that
the book, Ecological Urbanism, its translation into
Portuguese and Spanish, was sold out in two years. And it’s not an
inexpensive book. And I don’t think
that that [INAUDIBLE] should be underestimated. And the other is just like the
sheer volume of case studies that you find when
you start researching the notion of ecological
urbanism in the region. And I’m just going to go
through these very fast. There’s no time to discuss
each one of these projects separately. I’ve been looking at
them since we started working on the book with Gary. And I keep on coming
across case studies. You will notice that I have
focused on the last 25 years even though some
projects span a larger time just because they’ve
been around longer. And they are large scale. I have not looked at
the private gardens, for example, which
are important. But I have focused more
on like public parks. And don’t pay attention
to the taxonomy, but just to show you the sheer
amount of landscape urbanism that is going on in the
region, it’s just unbelievable. And this is not an
exhaustive list. There are about 60
projects in here. You keep on finding
them– oops, sorry– and finding them
and finding them. And then you start
wondering what is common and what is different. And OK here’s where I’m
going to read a little bit, but I can’t see very well. Sorry, I’m a bit blind. OK from the proliferation
of theoretical and executed projects large and
small that seek to reconcile natural
and urban processes into holistic
urban ecologies, it becomes clear that
cities in Latin America are intellectually, politically,
and economically committed to resurrecting that natural
substructures whose expression on the skin of the city, to
use that term of Manuel de Sola-Morales, has
been suffocated by fast-paced urbanization in
the last quarter of a century. And you could argue that
[? cedes ?] modernism. Latin America does not resonate
with all influences stemming from the developed areas of
the world in equal measure. This is a very important
point that it went to make. It is not merely a passive
receptor of an active emitter. Its cultural independence
is marked by the degree to which it embraces,
rejects, or transforms cultural frameworks imported
from the developed world, but also in so far as it
creates its own contributing to international conversations
from the positionality of its particularities,
context, and experiences. So we all have heard about
cultural dependence developed by CEPAL, whose main
offices are in Santiago. Actually, it’s quite
a beautiful building. In dependency theory,
one of the main actors in dependency theory ended
up becoming president of Brazil, Henrique Cardoso, and
leading continental integration South America, COSIPLAN. And I feel that dependence
theory has overemphasized the flow of capital of resources
in general– human, natural, and capital– from the peripheries, as
they call them, to the cores. And I feel that this
one-way relationship has played against us, even
though it does describe an important mechanism
in the way we are inserted into the global
economy, the political economy. But on the other hand, it also
feels like we are forgetting that it’s– you know, and this mural
by Rivera in Detroit expresses it beautifully. The industrialization
of the north has deeply depended on the
extraction of natural resources and the labor of the South. But it’s not so simple. I feel that between the extremes
of dependency, which emphasizes the complete subservience
of Latin America to the hegemonic power in turn
whether it was Portugal, Spain, or France afterwards or
England afterwards or the US afterwards and now China. On the other extreme, there
is the notion of autonomy which is more about isolation,
which is not accurate either. So I feel that in the
middle we have concepts that have to do with resistance. And we should speak
about resistance as much as we
discuss dependency, because that’s where we start
finding the differences that define us. But more than resistance,
I like the word creation. Because creation is
a form of resistance. It’s a form of being somewhere
between dependency and just copying models that come
from abroad and full autonomy and pretending that you’re
not part of a larger system. And in terms of
creation, what has been said about Latin
American creators, that there are four
main mechanisms in our processes of creativity. One of them, well, here I
added regionalism last night because it’s important. And that has to do more
with the adaptation to local conditions
of foreign models. Modernism is a case in point. We did a great job at taking
modernism and adapting it to our local conditions. But we didn’t produce modernism. So that’s more towards
the dependency side of the equation. Then we have the
hybrid, you know, the productive and brutal forces
of conquest and colonization defined us as hybrid since
the dawn of Latin America. And hybridizing seems to be a
very important process for us in terms of being
creative, [? an ?] agent. And [? Canklini, ?] obviously,
is an important theoretician in this regard. Then I really like the
concept of cannibalism which is originally Brazilian,
but Latin Americans have embraced it by de Andrade– you know, it’s back from the
70s, I believe, his manifesto– but you know, the
idea that we consume as we are consumed, that we can
derive from several sources, from all over the world, the
sources of our own creativity and we can those
who want to consume exoticism and tropicalism. Yes, go ahead. Cannibalize us, but
we’re also going to cannibalize everyone else. So that’s another really
interesting concept, I think, of this some sort of
omnivorous approach to culture. And then the two critical ones
for landscape architecture, because I feel that
the other ones apply more to other fields,
but deeply to landscape architecture, geography. Geography has played a
crucial role in our search for our own identity since
nation-states emerged and we felt we need to
define ourselves somehow. And, you know, a
lot has been written about the Latin Americans’
search for its own identity. And this is a very elusive,
almost mythical narrative. But it is important
because it has affected creation in Latin America. And obviously the
role that journey plays, I mentioned
[INAUDIBLE], because it is a good paradigm and an
example of the way Latin American architects and
landscape architects and urban planners
and urban designers use the journey as a way to find
an identity in the territory. And that has marked,
particularly, landscape architects. And then archeology, it
cannot be under emphasized. Ironically, the only person. I’m not going to discuss in
this lecture is Burle Marx. Because my theory, after
looking at all of this, is that landscape architecture
in Latin America– even though as a profession
is very recent, too recent– but as practice, it’s ancient,
literally pre-Hispanic. So we’re going to go all
the way back in time. And of course, these– I just added these
last night, just thinking in terms of the
potency of these geographies. Everybody’s marked by them. I’m an architect, but what
got me into a deep crisis was having to face the
Amazon as an architect. How do you practice
in the Amazon? How are you supposed
to build there? The paradigm of modernism
collapsed in my hands when I had to think about how
do I do a building in the Amazon rainforest? And the reason why
I’m doing a degree now is because I’m looking at
the history of urbanization in the Amazon River Basin. And it is absolutely
mind-boggling. But that’s a whole
other lecture. But, you know, the power
of these landscapes marks us and mark our designs,
and the power of archeology. When we were trying to
define our identity, we went back to
archeaology and started talking to this history. And these images, these
presences in the territories have been absolutely critical in
defining landscape architecture and architecture in Latin
America, from many standpoints. On the one hand, there is
that like link to modernism, the passion for the
raw, for brutalism, for textures,
materials as they are, and obviously, the honesty
of materials, which is also another modern concept. But beyond that, there
is these like complete– like this complete
synergy between landscape, the territory, and architecture,
the intervention upon it. This kind of
intervention is stemming from animistic cultures. Ian McHarg in his book,
Design with Nature, emphasizes over and
over again that the way we think about nature influences
the way we intervene in it. And obviously these
animistic cultures are defining nature in
very different terms. And that creates a very
different relationship in which the hierarchy is
completely the opposite from the European notion of
coming from the Genesis Bible, you know, we control nature,
nature is here to serve us, to we are part of nature
and there’s no separation. It’s a very different
ontology and it’s hard to penetrate the
indigenous ontology of nature. But I think it’s
critical to understand the way we practice landscape
architecture in Latin America. And then, thinking in terms
of the contemporary condition of the city, and I drew this
diagram thinking specifically about my city, but
I’ve traveled in cities throughout Latin America. And I see a very
similar pattern. Because to say that we have
a different way of practicing is to say that we respond to a
very different sociopolitical, cultural, economic condition. And one of the things that is
interesting is that we have, you know, the traditional
urban course which have been [? favelaized. ?]
There’s a lot to be said about the historic
districts in Latin America, the colonial course. We have the typical
gated communities, imitating the American suburb,
but in a feudal pattern. So we have these like sprawl
of walled gated communities. And then we have the
mega informal areas, self-built areas, and
the peri-urban areas. That’s why I included here the
hinterland and the rural areas. Why? Because when you try to
understand the causes and the reason why I’m
discussing the informal areas is because one of
the things that you will notice in the case
studies is that many of them are using landscape architecture
to remediate informal areas and to respond to
informal areas somehow. And there’s some very
interesting projects there. But when you look at
the huge informal areas and you ask yourself,
you know, for the causes of what created them. And here’s my own
city, Quito, which is highly informal, although
it has been integrated. But most of our cities, many of
our cities, are 70% informal– Mexico, Caracas,
Guayaquil, and so on. Some less, that’s like the
greatest degree of informality, but it cannot be underestimated. And when you look at
the possible causes, which is a very complex
thing, but there are theories. On the one hand, the first
explosion of informal areas was in the 1950s and 60s. And it was strongly
correlated with the agrarian and colonization reforms. We wanted to destroy latifundia,
these huge land holdings. We wanted to be modern, go
beyond the feudal system that we inherited from
the colonial times. But the problem
that this created is that it forgot that
indigenous cultures had collective property regimes. And when it was replaced by
a private property regime, the land was fragmented
into nuclear family units that could not– that would not allow, not
even the family to survive. So even like very simple
agriculture, just for family sustenance was not possible. So this was one of the
first great contributions to the creation of slums. There was a huge migration. But then there are
also, you know, issues like the
structural adjustment program from the 1980s
and 1990s that privatized, reduced public spending, opened
borders, and reduced regulation and so forth. A lot has been
written about this. And what’s interesting
about this aspect here is that most of
the disinvestment that happened because of the
reduction of public spending occurred in the rural
areas, in the hinterlands. So people suddenly
had to use a strategy of multi-sited households
where they would have some members of the
family in the hinterland, some members of the
families in the forest, some members of the family in
the informal areas of the city, and hopefully some members
abroad so that they could benefit from remittances. So this becomes an informal
strategy of survival. And it’s all caused by
what’s happening back there. When you look at our
political economy, and that is important to
discuss because it impacts the way we design, our
economies depend mainly on the export of food and oil. And then we can
add other minerals, but it’s basically extraction
of raw materials, mining, oil, and food– agribusiness. All those industries expel
people from the hinterlands. There’s a lot of displacement. But on the other hand,
they do offer jobs. So what do you do? You try to profit from
all the possible economies that you have in America. So we don’t have– we have five minutes. Oh god. We don’t have, you
know, like the case of Europe or the States
where cities industrialized and become poles that
attract people because there are jobs in the city. What we have is the opposite. We have people to come to the
cities in search of services– public education,
health, eventually services like potable water– but our economies are
totally in the hinterlands. So we become these dislocated
society and our slums exploded. And then of course, especially
in the Colombian case, this is super
important, the Cold War, the inheritance of the
insurgency movements and the counterinsurgency
movements. And they’re taking place
mainly in the hinterlands but they become urban as well. And you could go on and
on with all the causes for this condition
which has marked us as designers as much as
archeology and as much as geography. That’s what defines us. In terms of the
design principles that derive from this, well,
we have the modernist that we discussed. The economy of
means and austerity is a principle that
comes over and over and over again in the texts
of architects and landscape architects. Urban acupuncture is
critical because this is a tradition that
is fusing itself with the tradition
of landscape urbanism and ecological
urbanism of today. So we have this tradition
of landscape architecture that, as I said,
is [? milennary. ?] It’s not just in
the modern times. And then I’m not
going to go into this. You guys know
[? Curativa. ?] You guys know [? De Sola-Morales ?] and his
urban acupuncture theories which are also important
in Latin America. You know the case
of Medllin, which is one of the cases I admire
the most in the region. Because how do you create
in a situation like this where the state is
associated with violence? How do you create a
participatory process? It is virtually impossible. So what the Colombians
did is like they started acting to create trust. There’s no
participation preceding these in the beginning. Participation came as
trust was engendered by the actual fact of the
making of the transformation of the urban skin– skin in the sense that
[? Sola-Morales ?] uses the term. And then, of course,
the role that landscape has played in what I’m calling
a Latin American paradigm that fuses the tradition of urban
acupuncture, which is related to land adaptive reuse
in North America, with the tradition of landscape
and ecological revisionism in these I call
them acupunctural– ecological acupunctures. And this comes over and over
again in the case studies that I’ve been looking at. This is an important case
in Mexico, DF, El Bosque de Chapultepec. Why? Because it’s the
only case that I have been able to find of an
urban landscape architecture that has been alive since the
Aztecs and up to this day. This was designed by the Aztecs. And it’s still part of an
urban contemporary metropolis. It’s fascinating I cannot get
into it as I would like to. In Mexico, there has
been a development of a tradition that really looks
at archeology through Mario [INAUDIBLE] who is
trying to recover the milpas, the [INAUDIBLE]
as they call them in Mexico, with all the
culture that goes along it. So there’s this like
memory and ironically this looking back to
the pre-Hispanic past to be able to project
a future, but without, you know, without just merely
copying the model of the past either. Because we’re not we’re not in
the pre-Hispanic days anymore. This is another super
interesting case because it is about the notion
of using the extraction site and remediating the
extraction site. And when I speak about a
convergence between North and South, in the north they
had to remediate post-industrial delerict sites that they had
left all over the place when industry migrated towards the– we call it East– industries migrating West from
the perspective of America. And it’s interesting
because in Latin America the equivalent were the
extraction sites left over by industrial global capitalism. That’s what we had to remediate. And you see it in Chile where
this mine becomes a pool. You see it in [? Culichiva ?]
where the mines became parks and a park system. You see it in every city. And in the core
of the convergence between North and South
is definitely Barcelona. This is a project that
Charles [? Valentine ?] mentions in his book,
the Cloverleaf Park. And yes, I think
[? De Sola-Morales ?] is the big link between Iberia
and America and North America and Atlantic practices that
don’t always meet with such furor because they share
the [? palimpsest ?] idea. There is this embedded notion
of, like in Ian McHarg, you have the palimpsest of
all the layers of values. Here you have the
historical palimpsest. And I feel that the
notion of the palimpsest is what allows these two
traditions to fuse so, so neatly. And I’m almost done. And in the way it’s
being applied– this is just a
theoretical project, but I think it
brilliantly illustrates in Sao Paolo how we are
using, just like in North America, the leftovers
of infrastructure, the leftovers of radical
topographies or hydrologies. Hydrology is very important. We’re identifying
these voids and trying to create networks of
ecologies to relieve these hyper-dense and congested
areas in very many places. So it’s almost like
we’re going back to the hydrological
system, to this value in the ecological layers. But we are not
designing new areas in the way McHarg was doing or
in the way Olmsted was doing. And I mention them
because they’re all part of this
universal tradition. We are designing in areas
that are already urban, but they’re not the industrial
derelict urban areas of the north because we didn’t
industrialize like the North, with the exceptions– obviously
Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. I don’t want to generalize. And this is a case in
Quito where there was– I don’t have time to
get into this, ah? No. So anyway, that’s sad. But there are lots
of precedents. There’s a very deep history. And what I have
found, of course, you cannot talk about this thing
we are discussing all the river projects that are happening
in Medellin, in Santiago, in cities all over
Latin America. It’s the same story. But again, what I want to
emphasize are just two things to conclude. One, we need to look at
the history of landscape architecture because otherwise
it looks like we’re dependent. I don’t think that
landscape urbanism and ecological urbanism
is developed in the north and then it boom, you know,
it opens like a door for us. I think this is happening
in Latin America. And we simply enter into
a synergy with the north. Because we still seek for
legitimation in the north. But we’ve been doing
this for a long time. So we really please need to
look at the history of landscape architecture in the region. And the other
thing, nation-states do a disservice to research. We cannot look at Colombian
landscape architecture, Chilean landscape architecture,
Brazilian landscape architecture, Ecuadorean
landscape architecture. We really need to look at
the history of landscape architecture in the
Latin American region not excluding the United States. Now that I live in California,
it is very clear to me that this country is part of
the Latin American [? circuit ?] historically, not just through
contemporary migration. So it’s important to link
all this history so that we can understand who we are
and what are the differences and what makes in
American landscape architecture and Latin American
ecological urbanism particular to this region. And with that, I’ll leave you. Thank you so much
for your patience. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, Ana Maria. I want to welcome Diana Wiesner,
founder and director of her own company, Arquitectura y
Paisaje– is that right– and Fundacion Cerros de Bogota. She’s been awarded
several prizes in national and international
[? beinales ?] focused on architecture landscape
art and sustainable construction such as the Next
Green Awards of Bogota in 2016. She’s a member of the consulting
council for Bogota’s Planning and Verification Committee,
part of the editing committee of Bogota es Nuestra
and Noto Sociedad civil leader for Landscape and Latin
America Initiative. So thank you very
much for joining us. [APPLAUSE] Thank you for this
kind invitation. I want to talk like a critic,
auto-critic work for myself in work in my country, Colombia. And I would like to
mention my mother who used to take me alone with her
long walks throughout Colombia so that I could learn from
the country’s artisans whom she worked with. I learned about
the life stories, about how they craft
their handmade products, and about how they felt about
the natural landscapes that nourished them
and inspired them. My lifelong work has been
concentrated in interpreting the colors, the sorrows,
and the strength that I encounter among people
in these [? distinct ?] landscapes. Landscapes that are, that
were the sediments of history and had settled
deep into the soil. Landscapes who grand Andean
and Amazonian origins belongs to all nations people who
have the right to enjoy them and the duty to protect them
regardless of whether they live in the city. or in the country. Today these are the
motives that move me as I spend my time
between the design and the open fields
of root activism. The guiding principles
that I apply to any project of
any size are first, to ensure the project
will protect and enhance the site biodiversity. Minimize the intervention and
maximize the return for people. Place significant
value on simplicity. Enhance the landscape
so that it can be used for educational
and social contact. Focus the design on public
life, place with cities right, so cities could be secure,
human, healthy, sustainable, and resilient. And focus the design in
its geographical context. In real terms, the
successful realization of any project in
the urban setting depends upon an agreement with
your client, but in this case, in the Magdalena
river, when it is a government-sponsored
project, which depends upon political
consensus, oftentimes nothing moves beyond the purpose stage. Or the builders take
it upon themselves to interpret or modify our
landscape, our original plans. So in my role as a
landscape architect living and working
in Latin America, I prefer to see myself
as just one more link in the complex chain of
the landscape transformation. In my setting, a
landscape author must fade into the
background and let nature and the general
public take the center stage. In my work, I consider myself
to be a landscape artisan. This vision has been key
of many projects, including one in China where I
worked with the concept of a droplet of water as the
symbolic key that allows water to enter a labyrinth
of experience. Living in Colombia, it’s like
living in a labyrinth where you don’t know
where you are coming and where is going to be
the end of the surprise. And this labyrinth that winds
through peaks and valleys among artificial
topography and materials that we share between China and
Colombia, such as the brick, or the hammocks to take
a nap, a place where we can play as children and
where water appears and then disappears. In another project
near Bogota, we have focused on merging
ecological forces with traditional agriculture
methods in an area where the land is
rich and productive and where people from rural,
near-rural, and urban areas can interact. The design process was based on
community workshops resulting into a structure of social
inclusion and multiplicity in activities which recovers
the value of rurality as a symbol of renewal
in post-conflict times in Colombia. Local law techniques
were introduced into the design of
hard landscaping and natural-based design
in the soft landscape. For instance, water systems were
integrated into the baseline. When designing along with
informational, didactic, or recreational elements, the
sustainable drainage systems were incorporated,
filtering water from [? microfied ?]
plants on the wetland. Another aspect of
biodiversity that I emphasize in urban planning,
such as this in Bogota in a very pedestrian project. And it was to be a very hard
surface with the architects. I recognize and design planned
cracks in the pavement. So we recognize what too
often are considered weeds, so we designed these planned
cracks in the pavement so this type of vegetation,
with no maintenance, can grow between the cracks
between mortar and bricks. Also in another project, in
Bogota, a public library, we designed with
prohibited materials that were in the
normative of Bogota. So we tried to
allow an experience in the entrance of the building,
of this public building, and let lovers put the
notes in the pavement and to grow a different
kind of material. So we have a different
experience in the space. Other project in
the city of Pasto seeks to recover riverbank
areas formerly modified by civil works. Restoring a river running
through the landscape can also foster
cultural manifestation such as those that take
place during the Carnival before many Colombian
cities, or the January Carnival in the
city of Pasto where people can celebrate life. Running life, running
water in any kind can also be placed
in such unexpecting sites such as the roof of
underground parking lots. We did this project with
an artificial river. And water can flow in a private
space that we manage the way and democratize the space. And it has become
a public space. And the water, that is
this artificial river, is moving because
of the difference of temperature of
the water, avoiding mechanical complications. As native of Bogota,
I know what it’s like to live with
rain year-round. However, the city has
traditionally channeled its rain water into
the underground sluice and have kept it out of sight. Strangely enough, the
mountains, streams, and rivers that give
Bogota its natural beauty have traditionally been pushed
aside by urban development. Developers consider
these natural wonders to be the mere border
that frames the city. But these ecological resources
have been not sufficiently recognized for what
they really are, the regional axes around
which social and environmental planning should revolve. Nine years ago, I
proposed a strategy as the biggest social
agreement in the city, are pact with
citizens, students, residents living
near the mountains to preserve the natural border. The conservation pact
is aimed not only at protecting Bogata
mountain border, but also to bring it closer
to the city inhabitants. Since that time, we
have been working on Bogota’s eastern
mountainous perimeter to make it more accessible
to the general population, to transform it into a
place where Bogotanos can go see and understand
how Bogota was a big lake, what it is now, and
what it can become. In my role as a citizen and a
landscape architect committed with the situation
in Colombia, I join hands with other members
of the community who together volunteer time to
whip up enthusiasm for a beautiful mountain range. However, we are not
extreme conservationists. We want to find
the perfect modus operandi under which
nature and art and culture can survive in accordance
with the terms [? decided ?] of the entire community, to
work in a multimodal thinking. All of these efforts, we have
created the Bogota mountain foundation, La Fundacion
Cerros de Bogota, whose survival depends
upon a large number of young volunteers who
come and go depending upon the level of commitment. Every Friday since
two years ago– I hope this– this is a video. I should expect that I– it’s not functioning. Ah, [? listo. ?] Just have to– there it is. Thanks. OK, every year– every
Friday since two years ago, we have been having this space
in the mountains and we invite every week all the
citizens to bring up together to hear speeches about
urbanism, ecology, landscape. And in one specific
case, with the help of volunteers from
three to 75 years old, our foundation put together
a transitory artistic installation on a site
within the mountain reserve. Here we were talking
about light and sound and would spend
the night hearing the sounds of the mountains
and the change of the lights between the morning and
the [? atardecer. ?] And every citizens were taking
notes about this process. And then we invited, in another
day, El Amanecer de un Paisaje with artists and photographers. And we bring together like
experiments with mirrors, and seeing how to change
the nature, the colors. And every people was
taking notes and giving drawings about this experiment. This is an open space to all
citizens where we have created. This one was
Philosophy and Reality. He’s a philosopher, very nice. He was talking about that
imaginaries of Bogota. And Don Manuel, who was
talking about the reality of the cerros and the
difficulties that we have. Every citizens were hearing all
of these kind of experiences and then we finished. And that success led to
the creation of a new space in the mountains, one that
is available for public use and recreation. Achieving such
conquests have helped us to multiply approach activism
[? model ?] with the room for a large number of actors. The first talk was
geology and the things that we have in the rocks. And then people were
understanding and having like this way of joining
hands and putting together like a voice in the
mountain, for the mayor and the general city. This grassroots activism
gives people the confidence that individually they can
make a difference in protecting their environment. Along this line, we have thought
out the cooperation of schools. We have more than 80 schools
in the border of the mountains. And we join them
with all the children in order to embold
their students to the protection of
this vital resource that belongs to them as
future citizens who will bring about change. Every idealistic
vision for the future, every dream for the seven
million Bogatanos inhabitant has become part of our plan. We are sharing our
enthusiasm about staking out a new cultural
territory so we can make a living map that will
nourish our urban planning in the future. This drawing was made
four months volunteer time with citizens. And we put it together. Now it’s exhibited
in Museum of Bogota. But the experience
was very successful because now it has all what
the different people that lives in that mountains
and what they were thinking and what they want
to enhance, so try to enhance this
territorial culture. [? Although ?] I am
a certified Bogotana, my soul is in the countryside. This means that I can
see how we in the city have placed our attention
on urban problems and have ignored the
rurality that surrounds us. Here you can see a map where– this is Bogota. 25% of the territory is urban. And we have mostly of the
inhabitants living there. And the rural areas, that
is the Paramos de Sumapaz and the Paramos are the mostly
important part, the rural area, and the [? Sabana ?]
de Bogota, which is the most rich soil in
the country for agriculture. We have it in the city. This is in the
territory of Bogota. So we need to recognize
that rurality contains not only our greatest
ecological wealth, but it is where we
should be making every effort possible to
preserve natural beauty. Now, we are in a
discussion in Bogota about the future of the
savanna, or the Grand Plateau. One of my personal
visions for the future revolves about the
conservation of rurality. In one of the remaining
[INAUDIBLE] clear research rural zone left on
the Bogota plateau. This case, we have two
competing landscape concepts under consideration. The [? mayor ?] forces
the zone being transformed into a model of urban planning
with a strong dose of housing projects included. We, as citizens, we
have made a proposal to try to get one
view for the future. So we imagine an
alternative view that would preserve
this remaining part of the rural landscape with
the cities’ northern limits, a place where the future
generation will have access to rural life without
having to leave the city. This rurality will be
there to preserve the value and significance
of rural Columbia, which along with the
country’s cities, is finally emerging from years
of armed conflict in Colombia. The time has come for us to
bring our intellectual forces together in an effort
to protect and preserve our nation’s
biological diversity, in a collective intelligence
under biodiversity complexity. Part of our sociopolitical
transformation must be based on
enhancing citizenship in the symphony of
civilized democracy so that we could make the cities
more equitable, more beautiful, more exciting, and more humane. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Thank you very much. Jeanette Sordi is an
Associate Professor of Landscape and Urbanism at
the design lab of Adolfo Bonny’s University in Santiago, Chile. She holds a PhD in Urban
Planning and Design from the University of Genoa
and was a visiting student here at the GSD three
or four years ago. Since 2010, she has been
teaching and collaborating in applied research
projects in Italy, Germany, China, and Chile. She is author of Beyond Urbanism
and editor of a book on Andrea [? Bronzy. ?] She
is co-organizer of the [? Landscapers, ?]
Urbanism, and the Americas Project with
Charles [? Waltime, ?] Luis [? Clajas, ?] and [? Felipe ?]
[? Vera, ?] and principal investigator of the part
time city research project investigating the
Chilean Central Coast. So thank you for joining us. [APPLAUSE] Hello and thank you very much,
Garath, for the introduction and to Latin GSD and Women in
Design for inviting me here. It is really a pleasure
to be at the GSD again and to share my experience
on working on landscape and urbanism in South America. I have switched your map as
the Chilean landscape doesn’t allow the horizontal format. So as [? Gareth ?]
just mentioned, I worked in a few countries
mostly in Italy, Germany, and I studied here at the GSD. And then my main
focus has always been how landscape can
be a productive medium for urban planning and design. Since I moved to
Chile three years ago, I have been working on
a few research projects, three of which we show
today, that in a way try to frame questions that are
specific to the Latin American context but then also can
relate to global issues of urbanization. As Ana Maria and
Sonja were presenting, like what is the difference of
working in the Latin American landscape, especially from
somebody coming from Europe, first of all the scale. That is immense for me. While the European
landscape is characterized by a very dense pattern
of cities and towns and they’re very much
related to each other and to their
surrounding territory, the scale of the Latin
American landscape is immense. Vast areas are
still uninhabited. And the population is
mostly concentrated in a few major cities. In the case of Chile, 40% of the
population lives in Santiago. The rest is still– and again, I speak mostly
from my experience in Chile– is still mostly understood as
a resource to be exploited. This attitude, as we
mentioned already today, dates back to the
Spaniard colonization and extends to today’s
global economies. So Latin America forests,
agricultural fields, [? million ?] resources
have provided the foundation for the very development of
the cities a few centuries ago and still are the main source
of income for these cities. So for me, the
question, in a way, in this project I
have been working on in the last few years,
is how can landscape as a concept and
a design principle become a medium to
mitigate some of the issues such as inequality,
contamination, population displacement, that
emerge exactly from this uninhabited
process of exploitation? So how can landscape provide
a ground, an infrastructure, and a palimpsest for
future transformations. How does it work? Ah, [INAUDIBLE], yes. So the first project I want
to show today, and probably some of you are
familiar with it, is called Territories
of Extraction and is focused on the
mining territories in the north of Chile. I have been working
on the project with [INAUDIBLE]
Luis Valenzuela, who was also teaching here
a couple of years ago. Maybe some of you took
the course with him. So as you may know,
she concentrates 40% of the world’s
reserves of copper. Most of it is in the hands
of a few major companies, private companies, national
and international, and one national, CODELCO, which was– which owns like
30% of the market and the company that was
supporting this study. Yeah, so Chile, yeah
today still provides 70% of the copper that
is exported in the world. And because of that,
mining companies and in general the
mining industry have a strong power
in defining what is the future for cities
and territories in Chile. This is Chuquicamata,
which is in the area that we were studying that
is still one of the biggest open pit mine in the world. is the center that
we have been setting which is at the center
of these cluster located in the desert of Atacama
in the north of Chile, one of the driest
areas in the world and an area that in the last
years gained a lot of attention because of the struggle
generated by the externatlities is produced by mining,
mostly pollution and like social degeneration. And this was even more extreme
because while this area produces most of the
wealth of the country, these benefits are not
reinvested in the same town. Residents literally
took the street asking for more
services, more equities. And the project’s
right, understand, [? orignally ?] was a plan done
by [? Elemental ?] [INAUDIBLE] and our contribution was also
to keep seeing how this project could develop. So [INAUDIBLE] is a
medium-sized town. Calama has 150,000
inhabitants, but in a way when we were looking
at it, it started to become clear that
many stakeholders decide for the future of the city. The first ones are the citizens. And this town mostly
developed because of mining. So it basically did
almost not exist without mining and
its development starting from the 60s. And this actor, the
resident, is somebody who lives in the
boundaries of the city. They pay taxes. And therefore, they
want more services. They want their
voice to be heard. And they expect to
be able to establish a life that doesn’t necessarily
just depend on the mining reserves. Yes, so then the
city keeps growing at a very fast rate, expanding
the words of the desert or on top of the oasis– because Calama was also the
site of one of the biggest oasis in the world. So as we said, they
asked for better spaces for their children,
for their relatives. OK, a second group or actor
that has a very strong impact on these mining towns
are the commuters, which are not acknowledged
in the number of residents, but nevertheless are
a very huge number. Like, we have estimated that
like 10%, 15% of the population flows in and out, [INAUDIBLE],
like around 10,000 people, and not to mention
all the people living in the region that go for
the day, people living in mining camps which
is the other possibility for extraction territories. So that they live in
the camp near the pits, but nevertheless they use the
infrastructure, the facilities, and the services of the
city without assuming the responsibility
and the cost for it. This is kind of the
spatial outcomes of this temporary
floating population. And then so new hotels
and temporary housing, et cetera overlap on
what is the urban fabric. But there was also– there is also a third group
that doesn’t have as much power, like the other
ones, and of course, the residents, the
indigenous population, but their relation to the
landscape, to the territory is very different
because they have been living in
the area since 500 Before Christ,
establishing a relationship with the natural resources
of the area, which is very different from
the one of extraction. Yes, for many
centuries they have been cultivating the river that
brings the water to the oasis. They still live along it. They have special rights
on the use of water. And it’s also where like
their ancestors are buried and so they have a very
attachment to these areas and where archaeological sites
are created in the last years. And finally, of
course, there was the– there is a fourth
stakeholder which is the one that has
most of the power which are the executives
of mining companies or other enterprises
related to it. This group of people is
actually absent from the city. Like, many living in Santiago,
but they also live in Canada, in the United States, in Asia. And nevertheless,
they are the ones who take most of the
decision for the future of this territory. And they are the
ones that affect most of the other activities. So a lot of conflicts are
emerging out of these groups that we have simplified in four
actors, but could be many more. And one of the clearest
example of this, for example, is the use of water. Mining is highly
polluting for water. Water is the main resource
that the indigenous population need in order to
consolidate their landscape. The oasis is also the
most valuable place in the city for the
residents and so on. Also the production
of the waste of mining compared to the scale of
the city and the impact it has on its few
natural resources. We have estimated
that the oasis shrink to 10% of what it
was in the 1960s. In a way, putting at risk
these very precious desert ecologies that, in
a way, we’re not sure they can be restored even
after mining will be over. And that’s the other point
which was very important the within the
research project is that most of mining
cities and mining camps have an expiration date. Like as the relation with the
is based on their resources when the resources are over, the
mine pit is not needed anymore. So CODELCO, who sponsored this
thing, like the two main things that they were
putting on the table were that in the
next 30, 40 years they will need, all
their income will come from new operations,
which this 85%, while the existing mine pit
will produce only the 15%. So many more new
camps and cities will need to grow in
different locations in order to generate the same
income they have for now. But the other thing is that so
this means a lot of new workers that we had to be located
in this city of Calama or in nearby camps. But it’s also well acknowledged
that mining companies are also investing in
technologies that will allow them to run their mining
operations without workers. So, amazingly, using robots
for underground operations. So the question is OK, we can– we want to improve the
quality of the cities and so on, but why
don’t we ask what is going to happen where
mining will not exist anymore, like all this money
that has been invested? What is happening to the
indigenous population? What is happening to people
who live their family there? The work I’m showing
now is very speculative, has been run in the studios
I have been teaching with my colleague [? Philip ?]
[? Avera ?] and in [INAUDIBLE] workshops and thesis I have
been advising in Chile. So in the first place
we found in games a very good instrument to
understand landscape dynamics. To individuate actors that
play a role in a context, we asked the students to design
a board that resembled a city or parts of the
city and understand how different actors
interact with each other and what are the rules
in a way that determine one outcome or the other. So here are some of
them, for example, focusing on the oasis, which
is the area where the most value for all the groups. So they had imagined
like ecologists and the indigenous
population and stakeholders and real estate developers and
so on fighting for interests. Or what would it
mean to increase the density of some areas that
are using gray water for food production that in a way would
make the city self-sustainable for this short time? Or looking at a whole city,
how to intervene in the most sensitive areas in order to
develop strategies of landscape [? compensation, ?] reusing
the investment that mining [? will do, ?] so like
counter-part the effects of it. Or, for example, intervening
in the border with the desert and mitigating the effects of
dust and air contamination. So putting, again, in relation
the city with its mining pits. And another strategy that
we were somehow looking at is that maybe these settlements
like the mining camps for the new workers
that are needed, and this could have happened
even before, could be really understood as temporary. So working with the assembly,
disassembly technologies that have a hard
component which is housing and the soft
component, which is the natural part, like
these small gardens that could improve the
quality of the same camp, like increasing the level of
oxygen, and at the same time leave a legacy to the population
that will stay in the area. So how can landscape
design in a way become a medium to have these
actors establishing a dialogue with each other and putting
these different spatial and temporal scale in relation. We also try to imagine
strategies of restoration and reclamation
taking into account that, for example, in
the case of the oasis, the process has to start now. And also what it would mean
to reclaim the mining pit. And also how maybe
this infrastructure, this huge infrastructure
that mining has put together
in order to connect these very local and marginal
conflicts like the north of Chile, the desert of Atacama
to the rest of the world, through streets and airports
and economic networks and so on. How can these instead
be, for example, converted in a
process of reclamation and so transforming
this into a study to understand how to develop
strategies of reclamation and put it in network with other
cities and countries that are going through the same process. So in a way, using
landscape as we were saying, the question posed
in the beginning, how can landscape be a medium
to create these balances and try to adjust some of the
inequalities that are produced. In a way, landscape can– as a concept and a medium– can be the way in which
these different actors, their temporalities,
their spatial impact are put it in relation
to each other, avoiding what is happening
right now, that mining camps are either abandoned or
buried by their own waste, as it happened in
the haze of Calama. That has to be
displaced to Calama, actually, because the mining
operations needed the site. So the second project– and I’ll try to be faster– the second project I want
to show is the international competition, idea competition
we have organized in Chile last year together, again, with
my colleague [? Felipe ?] [? Rivera ?] and James Robinson
who is an ecologist teaching at Universidad de Chile. And the aim of the
competition was to design a new park for a
metropolitan area in Santiago in which productive landscapes
of agriculture, energy fields, water treatment
plants, and so on could co-exist with
biodiversity protection, recreational activities,
and sustainable housing. The site of the competition is a
plot of 1,000 hectares which is really huge, like you
[? will ?] [? see, ?] compared to the city, and that is owned
by a private family company. And it is located
in the belt that surrounds the city of Santiago. So part of the area is part
of the ecology protection site, ecological priority site. But the label doesn’t
really mean anything because it doesn’t give them
legislative power nor resources for the region or
for the municipality to protect this biodiversity
nor to make it accessible to the local or to the
metropolitan population. Nor does it allow to
prevent illegal activities such as, again,
copper mining that are happening under the site
which is an ecology protection site. So the first thing
that we asked, the first challenge that we put
in the brief of the competition was to explore the
potential of the site at the metropolitan
scale, so how it could become an environmental
or recreational resource for the 7 million
inhabitants of Santiago that live in the
metropolitan area and then also suggesting to
link it to systems of food production that could in a way
self-maintain part of the area, like other examples, successful
examples happening in Europe. Another important aspect
that we were exploring through this competition– here you can see
the site compared to the size of the city– is that this site is
located in an area where one of the lowest,
where the lowest socioeconomic groups live. But nevertheless, many kind of
private condominium or gated communities of
upper middle class are emerging in
the areas because of the low price of the land
and the beauty of the landscape. So the second challenge
was, in a way, how can whatever
project that is going to be developed in the area also
provide some kind of services to the community, become a
place for social interaction, and compensate what has been
like the relentless urban development that
has been driving the expansion of Santiago. And finally, how to
organize and give meaning to the many
activities that are already present on the site and how
can, in a way, landscape design also be the medium to
convert, to orchestrate different productive activities
like agriculture and energy production, water treatment,
and, yes, organize these peri-urban areas. So the winning
competition– the winning– I will quickly
through the project. So that winning
project is a team from Colombia called Mapa
[? Cerquita ?] [INAUDIBLE] Territorio. And what they
suggested was to create a set of productive
landscapes that would organize the area also
through a few architectural elements that in a way where
reminding the hieroglyphos, we which are designs of ancient
pre-Columbian populations, and collecting like the water
that was coming from [? site ?] and how this could be
maintained in a way the area and making it accessible
to the population, therefore creating a public
space for the community and for the municipality and
for the metropolitan area. This is another project
by a Spanish, Italian team which was– they used a more
organic approach to it. So, again, defining this site
through the waterstreams. These proposals that
I’m showing now, they are honorable
mention proposals. And this proposal
was instead all based on agricultural production
systems, so small scale, larger scale, trying to– understanding how this
could create new economies for the local areas,
welcome tourists, and yes, reactivate
this area through alternative economic systems. In a way, it establishes this
agricultural or peri-urban belt not as something like
outer to the city, but in strong
communication with it. And finally, another of
the honorable mentions, Costa [INAUDIBLE], also
from a Colombian team, they proposed a set of landscape
strategies for biodiversity, conservation, social activities,
smaller and larger scale urban development and so on. Strongly related to the
activities already present in the areas and
that in a way could be replicated all around
the city of Santiago like establishing a sort of
constellation, peri-urban, a rural-urban interface. Yes, some of the
results have been shown in an exhibition at
the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago. And the idea was
to use it as a way to keep engaging with
the municipality. And the same question
that was posed before, no? So how can landscape
be a medium? In this case, again,
like all these landscape design projects, it would allow
to put the area in relation, not just with the
local context, but also with the metropolitan
area around it and create like new interactions
between local community, tourists, investors, and
in a way so orchestrate the different interests
of the stakeholders. And yeah, also a book
also came out of it. Finally, and I will
use this to conclude. This project is very new. It just started so I’ll
just use it to conclude. It’s called Part-time
Cities Coastal Landscapes. And basically, it came
from my experience as an Italian and
a European living on the Mediterranean
coast and having seen what happened to our coast
because of seasonal landscape and tourism. So, I’m focusing on the
Central Coast of Chile, which is basically an extension
of the city of Santiago, where people buy
their second house and go for weekends
and vacation. And this is kind of the
urban development that is happening in this
area, built mostly in the last 20, 30 years of
wild real estate speculation. So, I mean, again, going
back to my experience, we have all seen
how tourism can be an incredible economic
resource and how it can help preserving
the natural heritage and the cultural
heritage of a site, but it also often generates
processes of alienation and gentrification,
disconnecting the site that is interested by
these developments from the real
economy of the place and the people that will
live there all year long, whereas most of and
especially seasonal tourists and coastal tourism are
usually characterized by a very intense and short use
in specific times of the year and, in which, all the infrastructure
collapses and then a very little population that can take
care of them during the year. So these are some of the–
this is just a review that we are doing through the
coast and the time, try to understand the
different patterns and so on. But again, the question
of why landscape has to come in in
understanding these areas and working in these
areas is because in a way if urban design and architecture
are determined by [? fixity ?] and they need to
work with property and they need to
work with setting up land use and their
maintenance, in a way landscape can allow us this flexibility. By connotation, it’s
open and it also consists of public space
and public interest in which these different aspirations can
find a place of interaction. So yeah, [? another ?]
[INAUDIBLE] is almost no regulation
in this area, but also punctured projects
of urban design such as that is a project in
point of view, which shows these amazing projects
at a very rare exception. There are very few
open, public spaces that can host different
activities, that can link private
occupation of the site with the [? temporal ?]
tourists and local inhabitants. So most of the questions
that are put in place is how to build bigger
pools, have better view, have more privacy,
more private space. Yeah, so the question
is, how can this in a way in the areas that still
have not been interested by these wild real
estate development, how maybe we can think
of it in a different way. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] Teresa Moller is someone I’ve
wanted to meet for a long time. She is a landscape architect
from Santiago, Chile and founder of Theresa
Moller & Associates. She’s been working in landscape
architecture for the past 30 years or so. Teresa finds careful
observation and awareness of the landscape key to
developing successful social cultural projects. Making landscape
accessible to people is essential to her
work philosophy. Teresa works with a diversity
of landscapes in Chile from the Atacama Desert
in the north to the lakes and glaciers of the South. They’ve been the setting
for most of her projects which we look forward
to seeing, and which are also shared in her book,
Unveiling the Landscape. So thank you very much,
Teresa, for coming. Disappear. So if anybody found a
telephone, it’s mine. [LAUGHTER] [WATER NOISES]
OK, first of all, I would like to thank you for
inviting me to participate in this symposium. It was a great surprise for
me, as so many beautiful things that have happened in my life. My intention here today is to
share with you my experience as a landscape designer
working for the last 30 years, mostly in my country, Chile. As you will see, my work has
a very instinctive approach to the question. I think the strongest
idea that support my work is a deep commitment
with the essence of each of the places I have
been asked to work in. Essence means the most important
quality of feature that makes something what it is. I am not an academic person, but
I have had great opportunities to be in nature and to
get deeply touched by it. I remember being a girl
spending lots of time lying under the trees,
just looking how the leaves were dancing over
myself, made me feel so good. I never thought I was going to
be in this position like today, having people
interested in my work. I have just done what I like
to do so much, working really hard in and with
nature, giving all my energy in what I am doing. I love to be in nature. I love to work with nature. I thought the best way
to explain my work is by answering some questions. What do I do? I attempt to rescue
the value that is in the essence
of a place and to be aware of anything that
would prevent people from not experiencing nature. Why do I do this? Everything I do
is for the people so they can be in nature. I think bringing
people into nature is so, so important
because it helps us so much to understand who
we are, because we are nature. How do I do that? I do it with great simplicity,
working with what is available. Simplicity means the quality
of being natural and plain. Keeping the idea of making
thrifty projects seriously the most sustainable. You will find common
ideas behind my projects. One is the idea of the line. I have this idea about the
line in the landscape going around my head for a long time. How does man catch
or work with nature? If you tried to reproduce
nature as it is, it will be a disaster. If you think how man
has inhabit the world from early beginnings,
the line was the way to connect in nature. If you think first steps
from a man working from one point to the other. Some irrigation systems
came after, fences, bridges, trains crossing the landscape,
airplanes leaving this line in the sky, and so on. All are the most simple
and efficient way of connection of two points. And as a result, I think, it’s
the most beautiful intervention man can do in nature. It’s the one that works. Then I have another idea of
that aesthetic is not enough anymore. What I mean is nowadays we need
to take care of so many things because we are so
many in this world. So first, we attend the need. Then beauty should come as the
result of our well-done work. We will be looking
at projects that will give us some explanation
to what I just said. Most of my work has
been done in Chile where we have all this
amazing variety of geography, from desert in the north to very
green rainforest in the south. We’ll go first to
this Punta Pite project that is located
in the center of Chile. And it’s this 11 piece of
land, 11 hectares of land, that roughly sits on
the Pacific Ocean. I can show this. Is this– this is Punta Pite. And you can see here it’s
really something strong that that gets in the ocean. We developed this project for 29
sites on a private condominium that we were asked to
design all the common areas. So we have parks, paths,
terraces, and different places to do. [LIGHT CLICKING] It was– I want you to hear the
stone that is being cutted but it’s there’s
no sound enough. We were asked to design– it was this two
years work in situ directing this 30 people which
became a clinic of stone work handling. Everybody that
works there now, it is somebody that
has the background and get new projects
to work in stone. Once a week, I would go and
direct personality work. These are some of the terraces
that we built for people to help them to get in water. The path is 1.2 kilometers,
giving people the opportunity to walk us through a
rock that is very rough. The line is the design
basis for this project. Here the question was, I was
coming with a path through here and I had to go all the way up. So I had to choose how to get
from the bottom to the top. I have to– I ask myself, how do I
reach the sky from here? And this is how it came. Uh oh, back. So we started building
little by little, step by step, with solid pieces
of granite from the place. What is nice is that allowed
people to get out of the steps and explore around or
just sit there to have a conversation with the ocean. You can see here, you can go
out from the steps all the time. And at the end of
the path, we find the park where there
were these old trees that were [? saved ?]
because the site was for one more of the sites
for sale, to be sold, but the owners understood
that saving this place would add value to
it in many aspects. So we have a common
place for everybody. It was left as a public park. Then we found this
historical place where a naval battle, because
a naval battle took place here. So this excavation, the
one that you see there, was done at the time
to place a canyon. We decided to mark it
with this stone that was worked by sculptor
[? Geraldo ?] [INAUDIBLE] to hold the rainwater. I recommend to walk
the path of yourself so you will have to
find your own way. It has become sort of a
spiritual poetic experience that gives you some
spiritual feelings. A young architect just
did it the other day and sent me these words. “I believe that people have
to understand that this is absolutely necessary. Punta de Pite fills
your heart and spirit.” That’s right. And this is necessary
for humanity. We have to fill
our spirit and this is one of the works that allows
it, makes me feel so happy, no? OK, just to show you because I
erased many projects because I didn’t have the time to
show you everything but I was thinking that it was
sad that I erased this, but it’s still a
little bit of it. This is Calama. It’s the same town that
she was talking about. And this is a huge park
that we did, surrounded one of the places of the city. And we planted
millions of trees. They are growing
and they will be giving shade for these
people of the same place that you were listening before. So that’s the only thing we’ll
see of Parque Periurbano. We did it with Elemental. And this is another project
also in the north of Chile, in the desert, in an oasis. And it’s a four hectares
project for a hotel in San Pedro, Atacama in
a little town in an oasis, again in the desert. It was a project that wanted to
educate visitors and tourists about native Atacamenos’
agricultural production. We planted quinoa,
corn, and others that would give the
experience of getting to know what these native
Atacamenos had before and help the kitchen to
prepare the local food. We brought back the
agricultural tradition to that place that was
abandoned for the last 30 years. We worked with the
teachers of a local school and opened a new
place for children to come and do their practice
working in the field. [INAUDIBLE] is another
project on the Pacific coast that I like to
show it to see how it was very much about finding
the essence of the place. This is– oh. Get back, come back. This is how the place was. And this is how it came. So I asked to blow the
dust off and there it was hidden under the
ground this beautiful rock. Then we had to walk on that
rock so we built this bridge. Such an amazing
place that couldn’t do anything but
cleaning what was there and helping to bring people
there, have some fire and look the stars. The [? heart ?] of the
project of the house was this rug that was saved,
again, of being taken out. And this is before and
after construction in situ. You can see how here is just
drawn how this is going to be. But it’s a work,
again, done in situ. And those are
traffic signs to find the way to the hidden house
that was built underground. We took some rocks and placed
them in the middle of nowhere to show where that people
should go to get there. This is an agricultural
project in the center of Chile. And just to share with
you the thought of, the beauty of the project should
be the result of the necessity to keep– no, this should have
been erased too. We will go to the
one that I want. This one. This is the project that
it shows a great beauty, but the thing is it was the
result of the necessity to work with water to bring it down. It’s really difficult.
This is true. So here you can see
before and after. And then when water
comes down, all the way here to get to from this path
here to come through this place and finally got all
in this lagoon that helped as a reservoir
for the water process of the park and the
agricultural production. So, again, I say
aesthetics should be a result of our
design, but should come from solving a problem. This is a park in
the city, which is– I showed it because it’s a
restoration project in Santiago that brought the water
back to the place, again, for irrigation. And this is a place in the
South that I worked in. It’s my place. And it’s to show how important
is the value of wildness, of simplicity, and
especially, I wanted to show you this that
makes me tells you that I can assure that
climate change is a reality. Trees are getting
drought, are dying. So far this part of
the presentation, I would like to ask
you to think of this, let nature be the star. And if there is
no nature around, then we have to bring it. We need so much to close– to be close to nature
and have a good life. Lots of trees are so much
better than lots of pavement. When you do your
projects, I would like to ask you to think more
in trees than in pavement. When you plan a city
or an urban space, I would like to ask you to
understand the need of being in nature more than anything. I would like to remember
you that concrete is not our material as
landscape designers. We simply are so responsible
for bringing trees back to our planet
more than anything. I invite you to escape from our
[? evils ?] and think deeply in our [? parents’ ?] need, to
bring them to a better life, being back in nature. We also should help
architects to cities. I’m going to show you now
a couple of projects that have been done in
China, in Berlin, that tells the same story like
bringing native trees that belong to the place to
this courtyard in a campus in Shanghai for business
people to take a break in the middle of the day. We owe so much
Chinese vegetation. They have native– many,
many beautiful trees come from China. I learned after being there
looking for what to work with. Between the bamboos, was
always under the trees. This is with
[INAUDIBLE], which is the architect of this building. And [INAUDIBLE] is the architect
of this other building where I used the [INAUDIBLE]
Sequoia which is a tree that was
extended and Chinese people rediscovered it in 1944 and
has become very popular. It’s the Shanghai tree. It worked really well
with this hard building. This done by [? Elemental. ?]
So it’s true that I love trees. Then it’s a park in Berlin that
is going to be open this May. And the proposal had
to consider the weather condition of Berlin. So we were lucky to have
very similar conditions to the south of Chile. I chose our native
[INAUDIBLE] tree. This is how it looks
in the south of Chile. And it’s a tree that beside that
it gives us the confirmation that we were all
one piece of earth many years ago because
it’s also native to New Zealand, Tasmania, and they
found some in Antarctica. So it has a very
special meaning. Then I brought something
from the north of Chile that I am very much
in love lately, getting all my projects with
this [? travertine ?] I found. And so next May
I’m going to Berlin to do the opening of
this little forest that is going to be there in
a permanent exhibition. And then the last thing is I was
invited to do some exhibition in [? Berinal ?] in
[? Venice ?] 2016. And after I got the invitation,
I went there to see what could I do in the [? berenal ?] end. OK. So I’ll show you very fast that
I brought some left over pieces from Chile to this place–
to have these people sitting and being in nature because
they didn’t have where to stay. That was what I
found in my trip. And as you can see,
they were working well because people use them very
much and what is very nice also is that they
decided to leave it as a permanent exhibition
because they worked so well. And the last thing is I
have some questions to leave you to finish my presentation. I would like to leave you with
some question you may want to answer to yourself
next time you will be in front of a new
project like the baby. What is the essence of a place? What is there I want
to share with people? What is really necessary
to have people getting the experience of the place? What are the materials
I have available? What is the less expensive
proposal I can bring? Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] So thank you very much for a
fantastic and amazing range of projects and
approaches and ideas. I think we’ve seen a
huge range of approaches, scales, locations, and so on. I have a couple of
questions or observations before we open it up for
questions from the audience. But I suppose my
first question really is, I mean, I’m also conscious
of the fact we’re dealing with a huge area, so I don’t
want to get too imperialistic, but you know, Latin America
is a huge continent. And yet, there’s an
ambiguity over, maybe, over the profession
in Latin America. And I wonder whether that
actually creates opportunities for practice and allows
for a more, maybe, expanded field of
landscape architecture than perhaps we have here. And I wonder if you could
each comment on that. If you need a
minute, that’s fine. Ana Maria you, please. Oh my god. You’re never stuck for words. I talk too much. No, I didn’t say that. Well, I guess that what
you mean by ambiguity is the fact that landscape
architecture hasn’t been yet become a specialization
with very defined borders. I mean, it is still a
pretty blurry practice compared to other fields. I mean, from my experience
thinking about the Amazon, I would say that as an architect
who deeply admires landscape architecture and its respect
and consideration for nature, as you kept on
repeating, you know, architects really need
to see the nature as part of their palette of materials. I guess that one thing
that has really opened up for me in terms of this
ambiguity of practice which I enjoy is that I
feel that in the future, after finishing
the PhD, I am going to be doing a lot of what
is called agro-ecology when I go back to Ecuador. I have come to
understand agro-ecology as an architectural project. And that is something
that maybe I’m doing because I have the
freedom to practice architecture or landscape architecture
or urban planning or urban design in a much
more open field that demands responses that really question
the limits between professions that have become so
rigid in other places. As an architect, I’m
supposed to do buildings. How does that
limit my materials? And how does that limit my
concepts and my relationship with nature? I feel that I have finally
broken free from that and now I’m understanding
an agro-ecological project as an architectural
project, if that makes sense in terms of this ambiguity and
the opportunity embedded in it. OK. I think we have so
complexity in our countries. There’s so many
things to do that– and so much frustrations
because of political decisions and everything, that the
compromise to be poetical, no, like Teresa, and to understand
these narratives and the people in such a different contexts
is like [? un reto. ?] It’s a– A challenge. –a very big challenge to
ourselves and landscapes. Goes [SPEAKING SPANISH]. It’s getting just like
in all these things. So there’s no time available
to do so many things that we have to do. [INAUDIBLE] because
I have been to Chile in South America for
a short time now, so I will tell you my first
impression in the last three years and especially in Chile. And my feeling is that in
terms of the discipline, like, there is a tradition
of landscape architecture. Like Universidad
Catolica has a program in landscape architecture
for a long time. But also other research
centers and schools are opening to
masters that are kind of interdisciplinary between
urban design, landscape architecture, architecture. They’re try to solve
a lot of issues that have been left aside. I feel there is a bigger
appetite for landscape and landscape architecture. Because really, again, it’s more
of a feeling than a knowledge thing, but compared,
for example, to Europe, like the relation to
nature and to this kind of primitive landscape,
I feel that it’s very strong in South America. But on the other hand,
like the interests of this state and
developers and architects have been mostly on
the built environment, like providing a
house, providing the construction of cities,
infrastructure, and so on. And now there is really this
need and this desire, i feel, to [? re-merge ?]
the two aspects. So we are assisting
like many competitions have been organized in the
last years in South America. You were showing
many projects that are arising driven
by the state and so on that are trying to
bridge this gap again. [INTERPOSING VOICES] No, I think I– All right. It’s enough, no? She understands Chile very well. So that brings back
to another question. And then I would like to
open it up to the audience. But one thing that was
on my mind and actually it was Ana Maria’s
presentation where you talked about finding the
differences is important, made me think about the other
part of Latin America that’s not represented here,
the Portuguese speaking part of Latin America. Would any of you– could any of you
comment on what is different in landscape
architecture in Brazil versus the Spanish-speaking
countries which are represented in the conference. That I can answer. I work with Brazilian
landscape architects. I work with Brazilian landscape
architects in my office. And I travel many times and I’ve
been looking at projects there. And I think we have all the
same basis as Latin Americans. We receive very much even poor
tourist pain or bad weather conditions. The coffee sector different. So I would say it’s
because of that the result of the projects, the
way they worked is different. It could be like we are
all around the Andes, very we have so much
in common, having the Pacific and
the Andes around us close with these huge mountains. And Brazil has something
different, special, that is, its diversity which
is so good, no? [INAUDIBLE] Well, Brazil has been a
great intellectual challenge. It is definitely different. I think that looking at
the history of Amazonian urbanization has
made me grappling with the way the
Portuguese settled, which is very different from
the way the Spaniards settled. The Spaniards follow
the law of Indes, whether they were in the Andes
or in Iquitos in the Amazon. They used the grid. It was a very
specific pattern that was placed in different
places regardless of the landscape, whereas
the Portuguese had a much more organic way of– an informal way of inhabiting
the same landscapes. Another huge difference is
the African contribution, which is in the Caribbean
and in Brazil in particular very strong. Places like the
Quilombos in the Amazon where there is these like fusion
between indigenous cultures, tropical indigenous cultures,
and Afro-Brazilian culture is absolutely fascinating. They have more relationships
to the [INAUDIBLE] in Africa than to any locals
reference, if you wish. So I feel that’s
another thing that– not Hispanic America
doesn’t have that, but it doesn’t have
it to the same degree because the Portuguese
imported slaves much more than the Spaniards. The Spaniards used
the indigenous in the areas as the labor
force during colonization, also some African
American populations. But Brazil is so
deeply African and then there’s the
Portuguese influence. And just the fact that they have
expanded into 60% of the Amazon makes them a tropical
country in a magnitude– you know, Burle Marx wouldn’t
exist without that tropicality that is so Brazilian. But thinking about the
connections and not the differences and looking at
the archeology of the place, there’s a deep history of
relationship between the Andes and the Amazon that
should not be forgotten. These are not two
separate entities. They’re completely intertwined
culturally and ecologically. The Amazon is generated
mainly in the [? Amazones ?] as a river– in the
Andes as a river basin. It also has the influences from
the Brazilian plateau below and also from the Venezuela,
the [? Guinea ?] plateau. But mainly the majority of
the sources are in the Andes. And it’s been demonstrated
that the relationship between pre-Hispanic Andean
cultures, Amazonian cultures, and Mesoamerican
cultures created a huge circuit of conversations
that are still alive, and that there is
substructure that joins us in our differences and both
should be acknowledged. I think I cannot really
answer to this question. Yes, for me, it’s
difficult. I think we share our difficulties,
but the Andean, no, we come from the
Andes and maybe we have some kind of difference
of resolving the problems. But I think there is more and
more consciousness about what we are doing in the spaces. And the Brazilians have
this open-mind thinking. And we, well, for
example in Bogota we are in the high mountain,
we are more reserved and think more
before doing things. And that kind of
way of acting maybe is a different way
of approaching. But I think this consciousness
on the complexity of the problems we share
with the Brazilians. Thank you. Do we have– I think we have time for
a couple of questions from the audience. [INAUDIBLE] So this question arises
from Ana Maria’s lecture, but I think it applies
to everybody’s. And it is really about
the role of politics in the shaping of the
discipline of landscape architecture in Latin America. The question is, how
can we as designers, how should we engage in
the politics of place, the politics of cities,
and the politics of nature? And how can that be
embedded in our work? And how do you think that has
shaped also the discipline in our countries. Should we take another
question then let– give you a minute to think about that? Hi. Something very similar or like
it follows up to that question is how effective are
the top-down plans that are happening in Latin America? And how like how can we prove
that they work and they really are effective for the
community, that they engage the community, they also
solve ecological problems, that we are changing
the landscape? Ana Maria do you want to– do you want to start? I mean, I am sitting with
these brilliant women. I would love to hear what
they have to say first. I think we as landscape
architects have the commitment to be in politics in
each of our everyday work because we live in very complex
nations that are changing, that are transforming
their territory. In the case of Colombia, we
are in a process of peace in a very conflict time. And we need to share this
the things, the things we transform the territory. And we need to
talk to each other and to have a
position because we are making culture territorial,
cultura territorial. And I cannot think about
being landscape without being involving with the people,
talking with the people, hearing and trying to transform
what the landscape that we have done in the last years/ we have
seen of the cities in Colombia and Latin America. And we haven’t homogenized
our landscapes, the solutions with functional
and economical decisions. So I think there is a
new way of transforming the way of thinking now
and there is another way to resolve problems. And that is that where
landscape is the place to be. Because it is very near the
human nature and the nature. So nothing– everything
is going to be different if we have that
kind of perspective and change the one that was
mostly functional, economical, and another way of thinking
the past years of urbanism. So my impression in
working in a South American country, and this
is also why I got so obsessed with who
are the stakeholders and how do they define
space and so on, is because I feel that
these divisions are much stronger than in context
that have like a bigger pattern of interactions and
the social conflicts and so on. So privatization still
plays a big deal. Like a lot of power is
in the hands of a few major companies, often national
but also international. And these political
boundaries still have a big weight in their
way like cities are shaped. For example, in the case of
Santiago, the capital city. Like most of the
activities and the wealth is concentrated in the
few municipalities. And these same boundaries
are making sure that these will continue. Because like taxes
are, for example, are almost not redistributed. So poor municipalities
will keep being poor. And the richer one
will keep being richer. Or the same with the relation
between capital cities and the regional context,
so how most of the economy is concentrated in
the capital cities that are the most connected
also with the rest of the world. And in this sense,
I really think that because of landscape,
because landscape design, I mean, can be very punctual. We have seen amazing
projects here. But also it deals with public
space, with boundaries, with openness. And so there there is,
really, a possibility, I think, to mediate
some of these stronger political boundaries. And the top-down
plans, I don’t really know if I can answer to this. But I think it’s the
same all over the world. I don’t see a
difference with this. Like many times, we
have seen, for example, all over the world
with big events happening and the way huge whole
areas are transformed in a way like keeping citizens
as the main– those that will gain
the most advantages out of this transformation,
but in the end it’s mostly real estate
or finance speculation. So really, with this, I don’t
see a difference with the South American context. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Regarding the first question,
you mentioned the poetics. And it’s interesting
that the conversation has become about the politics. It makes me think about the
connection between poetics and politics. And in terms of Teresa’s work,
I think that in Latin America, but I think about
the whole region, Chile is definitely the
epitome of the poetic practice of architecture and
landscape architecture. It doesn’t surprise me that
Chile has two Nobel Prizes who are poets, not novel
writers like in Colombia with magical realism or in
Peru, Vargas Llosa and more of a realistic, if you want,
a social realistic critique. But taking into
account that that is a very Chilean
way of making things, I think that the
connection in general in the region with the poetics
and the politics of the poetic has to do a lot
with the principles that we call the
economy of means with the fascination with
the raw and the wild. And all of you mentioned, and
this is recurrent, simplicity, doing a lot with very little. Teresa mentioned
look at the materials that you have in the site. Look at what you have. Look at the local resources. We have very limited resources
to solve very big problems. So that has created a
very particular stance within this aesthetic of– these poetics of– which has a
political ethos embedded in it, I think. So that combination,
I think, is also very particular to
Latin America right now. And regarding the other question
in terms of the top-down, I don’t think we have– since modernity, I don’t think
we have any top-down dreams in Latin America. We are in cities that
are 70% informal or less, let’s say between
20% and 70% informal. What place is there for
a top-down mega-strategy that tries to do everything? None. That’s why we work more with
like piecemeal acupuncture, trying to link it
through public transport, trying to find the nerves
that link these points. I feel that Latinos are actually
not fixated with the notion of a master plan from above. Maybe that’s what we have
been lacking is planning. We deal more with in a reactive
fashion with the circumstances that simply explode, many
of them based on policies that we’re not designing, that
have been designed from abroad. And I don’t like thinking of
things in a one-way direction, as I told you, like
dependency theory. I think its a two-way path. I think remittances, remittances
coming back from the north to the south, are as
important as resources going from the south to the north. But there is a process
in the fabrication of the [? marginality ?]
Latin America. It is undeniable there
is some of these, like what Harvey
calls, accumulation through dispossession going on. In the sense that the policies,
from what I have been reading, in the planning school which
is where I am right now. They look at the economy and the
politics of things a little bit more than architects do. It’s challenging. I’m having a hard
time understanding everything they say. But from what I’m
gathering, many of the policies that
have deeply affected us are being designed abroad– political, economic policies. And this has been happening
since the colonies in the sense that we are the hinterland of
the global centers of power right now. We are the global hinterland. That I have no doubts about. We are the hinterland from
which raw materials, minerals– you presented an
excellent example– are being extracted. And we are the
agri-business hinterland. Look at the soybean republic
taking over Paraguay, the Bolivian Amazon, Brazil,
Argentina, more than anything, and Uruguay. It’s really scary to look at the
relationship between companies like Monsanto or
[? Syngenta, ?] I think it’s called,
and our nation– our states. Because the state plays
a very important role in this whole articulation of
Latin America as the hinterland of Europe, then the hinterland
of the United States, and now undoubtedly,
the hinterland of China. China is the main commercial
partner of most of our nations. And that relationship
is being reinforced. Chile was the first
nation to become– to have China as the
main commercial partner. Mhm, yes. Since Brazil had China as
the main commercial partner, Latin America changed forever. Because Brazil is
an Atlantic country and has been Atlantic
traditionally. They had to shift the
continent to open up routes to the Pacific. It is the most powerful
nation in South America. So I feel that to acknowledge
the fact that we’re that hinterland is
very important in terms of how do we
practice politically our aesthetics of post– what could we call it? Post-hinterland. You know, South
America, will we emerge? It will take us 100 years? How long? I’m not sure. [INAUDIBLE] I think we have time for one
more question and then we– all right, all right. We’ll take these two together. Can I go first? Thank you for the presentations. As a Brazilian, I was
really happy to see all these Latin American
landscapes in the debate on. And that’s pretty
much of my question. I want you to put together
the two issues that already talked to here this morning. And think it’s very
interesting about when you talk about boundaries. All– like each one
of the presentations show how we have many boundaries
in Latin American context like rural and urban, public and
private, and periphery, center, gated communities and so on. At the same time, I
think we are quite different in that on the kind
of formation or the professions we are because in
the graduation, we are architects and
urbanists in most of the cases. So as an architect, we
think about the architecture of the building, the city, the
urban planning, the territory. So as a formation, we have– we cross all those scales. And I will think about the
lines and the connections that you used as a
metaphor in your project. How can we construct these
lines of connections? I don’t want to like a straight
answer, but more a reflection because I think we have a
lot of common in Brazil. Like Brazil, it’s not a unity. It’s one country, but it’s
very different originally in the climate and everything. And maybe we are struggling with
this in the Brazilian debate, but we don’t struggle with
our partners in Latin America. I think we should cross
the Andes [? sometimes, ?] in a certain way, I don’t know. Can we take the second
question and then– Thank you so much for these
thought-provoking speeches. And I want to share first of
all a sentence I learned just yesterday. Somos [? arroyos ?]
del mismo rio. And I believe that this
river is landscape. And I did enjoy so much our
cross-cultural dialogue today. It’s not a [? mob, ?]
it’s a dialogue. And so I have a question
for Chile and [INAUDIBLE]. And by the way, I’ve been there. So I’m curious. I really liked your sentence, so
need comes first and then comes aesthetics. So in a country
like Chile, you have a of risks, natural
disasters, especially it’s a very, very seismic country. And then you have also
the power structure. You have conflict
with indigenous people like the Mapuche people. So when you do
landscape architecture, do you also consider how to,
say, mitigate the natural risks and also how to promote
social inclusion? And also for the
Colombia case, I have a big love for Colombia
because of my favorite writer and also, yeah. I know something about Bogota. I’m very interested into
the rural-urban connection because actually it’s really,
really a unitary landscape by the way [INAUDIBLE]
deliberately interrupt the connection
between the rural landscape and the urban landscape. So maybe these cases can also
serve as a very, very important reference for Asian countries. Thank you. We’re over time. So if you could maybe
keep the answers short. Who would like to– Teresa? Do you want to? I didn’t get very
well the question. That’s the thing. [INTERPOSING VOICES] It was more of a comment,
I think, about borders and conversation with Brazil. Can I say something? It’s kind of– maybe you have
an idea because it’s like– it’s difficult for me to– Yes, no, it’s not like a— it’s more of a personal
thing, but actually my first encounter with world
of landscape [INAUDIBLE] architecture. And I was starting my PhD in
urban design and planning. And my first encounter
with landscape was during my master’s thesis. I have an obsession,
I think, because I did my master’s thesis
on Latin America and on the River Plata system. And that’s really
where I discovered like landscape and landscape
architecture as a way to connect boundary– borders that, in a way, do not
really exist in a physical way. So like my thesis was on
the River Plata system that connects Buenos
Aires, Montevideo, goes through Argentina,
[? Buenos ?] [? Aires, ?] [? Santa ?] [? Fe, ?] goes, runs
through Asuncion in Paraguay, but it’s actually, the
source is in Sao Paolo, very near to Sao Paolo. And the original populations
like the Guarani, for example, that live in
Paraguay and in Brazil, they use it as their main
communication system. And it was like the origin
of the villages and so on. So in a way this double
connection between something that could link these
different landscape, but on the other hand, in
the contemporary cities, now it has changed in the
last 10 years, I think. But still, for
example, the river was the big boundary,
the big border between what was the
natural, like that floods and where most of the informal
settlements are located, and what is the modern
city built on top of it with concrete and so on. So I think that the
question of boundaries is absolutely
irrelevant in terms that they can be the
place for diversity to happen and to regenerate. And I don’t know, I always like
to think in the South American context on this double meaning
of the boundary as a connection and as a place of
friction, which I think– I don’t know if this answers
to anything, I guess. And the Chile– yes, there
are products of mitigation, of preventing risk. I would say that the most famous
one is their Plan of Concepcion by Elemental. I don’t know if Teresa, you
are involved in that as well. No, [INAUDIBLE]. Ah, OK. And yes, of course, they are
especially in the last years, they’re trying to see how
can landscape become a medium to mitigate some of the
effects, for example, of tsunamis or earthquakes. And I haven’t really
worked on that. Like to me, for example, the
thesis I was showing on Calama, they were coming to me asking to
work on the natural disasters, like earthquakes and tsunamis. And I was telling them
that the mining in a way is a planned disaster,
that this is also something that is not
taking into account but one day will
hit the context. And so in a way I think the
methodology with which you work is kind of shared. But it’s coming. Everything is cycled. So we are growing. We are making things
better, little by little. Shall we break for lunch? And we meet again at 1:30. Is that right? Yeah, so we’re going
to reconvene at 1:30. Thank you to all of you for
a wonderful conversation. Yeah, thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] You’ll be able to hear
again from– you’ll be able to hear again from
these four speakers at 3:30 for our final roundtable
with our other four speakers. But we’ll be back here at 1:30. Thank you.

2 comments on “Landscape Architecture in Latin America: Unpacking Theory, Practice, and Agency, Panel 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *