Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Department

Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Johanna Barthmaier-Payne

Second Advisor

Tiago Torres-Campos

Third Advisor

Theodore Hoerr

Abstract

Climate change is posing great challenges to Tuvalu, a small archipelago in the center of the Pacific Ocean. With low elevations above sea level, poor soil, and limited land resources, Tuvalu is considered to be one of the smallest countries in the world, as well as the most vulnerable nation under climate change. About 2000 years ago the seafaring Pacific Islanders inhabited the archipelago and developed its unique culture following the fluid geographies of atoll islands––a culture that was once associated with the notion of paradise, and which gradually faded away with the arrival of western colonizers in the 19th century.

This thesis focuses on the study of the indigenous culture of Tuvalu to then explore a design approach for a new floating landscape. The new landscape adopts a regressive strategy that expands into the inside of the atoll and involves a flexible and constantly evolving aquaculture-floating habitation development in the lagoon of Funafuti, the capital island of Tuvalu. In the process, a new type of concrete material made with plastic as an aggregate is proposed as a solution to face sea level rise whilst also addressing, even if only partially, the issues related to abundant plastic pollution on the island.

Speculating on different scenarios spreading over the course of fifty years, the design experiments with a series of land and water-based ideas where flexibility becomes a key concept. The thesis ultimately aims to open up questions about the role of landscape architecture in supporting and mediating change in territories and their communities that currently face serious and existential pressures from climate change, or soon will.

Comments

View exhibition online: Yuxi Liu, FLUID GROUND Imagining a floating future for Tuvalu

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