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Emerging Landscapes of Storage

Adriana Chávez  | Master in Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology and Master in Architecture II


Emerging Landscapes of Storage

Analyzing Mexico’s water storage potential in the context of the emergence of the
Bajio Region.

Urban Project Prize, 2014.

Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

According to the United Nations Human Development Report in 20071, one of the most
significant challenges of contemporary urbanization is water scarcity. However, development dynamics in industrializing parts of the tropics suggests that the most important challenge is that of water storage.

To capitalize on the opportunity for economic revitalization in emerging tropical economies, this thesis investigates and suggests the development of qualified patterns of urbanization that are characteristic of the tropical region and support the growth of hydraulic accumulation methods throughout the region.

Looking towards storage as both an ecological and economic strategy, this project develop ways of managing effluents, liquids, and fluids within the context of urbanization occurring in manufacturing corridors throughout inter-tropical, deltaic regions and storm basins. This thesis reveals the opportunity for new webs of urbanization within a landscape replete with industrial growth and climate complexities, where different water storage infrastructures will work to support emerging industries and farms.

In a critique of the classic hydraulic hypothesis put forth by Karl Wittfogel in 1956, this thesis proposes a requalification of hydraulic determinacy. It does this while recognizing external, hydrological processes of rain precipitation, water storage, irrigation, evaporation, and their attendant biotic processes of ecological growth as intrinsic parts of industrial and agricultural production.

By building a contemporary climatic and spatial language for the growth of economic zones in tropical regions, hydrologic accumulation becomes essential to the flexibility of international development of industrial archipelagos in between the cycles of saturation, circulation and storage.