UCLA Design Conference “Divining Providencia: Urbanization in the Amazon and the Paradox of Infrastructure”

On June 11, 2013, a conference and design review funded by the UCLA Latin American Institute will explore how design can improve the impacts of the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), the largest and most ambitious infrastructure integration project ever implemented in the region. The event will be hosted by Sherman Research Studio as part of RUMBLE, the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design’s annual year-end exposition.

A comprehensive energy, transport and communications network, IIRSA was initiated by former Brazilian president Fernando Enrique Cardoso in 2000 and rapidly endorsed by the 11 other nations of South America. Financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, the $82 billion initiative will build ten east-west infrastructure corridors to expedite South American exports to Asia from Pacific ports. 

“Divining Providencia: Urbanization in the Amazon and the Paradox of Infrastructure” will use actual design proposals to demonstrate how current patterns of resource extraction, paired with IIRSA investments in regional infrastructure, can serve as the backbone for new models of urbanization in South America. 
A review of designs prepared by several graduate student design studios over the past year for “brick-and-mortar” projects of Puerto Providencia in Ecuador will take place throughout the day on Tuesday, June 11th in Room 1209 B of Perloff Hall.

The goal of both the conference and the design reviews is to provide a set of implementable design and planning proposals that sustain and enrich — rather than damage — the cultural and environmental settings (i.e., real estate) that adjoin IIRSA infrastructure projects, using low-impact alternatives.

The designs that will be presented and discussed are those of graduate design studios at UCLA, Harvard University, and Pontifica Universidad Catolica Ecuador (PUCE). Each studio’s projects will be critiqued by the other studio leaders as well as experts attending the conference.

Keynote conference speakers Felipe Correa (Graduate School of Design, Harvard University) and Ana María Durán Calisto (Pontificia Universidad Catolica Ecuador), co-founders of the transcontinental applied research network The South America Project (SAP, www.sap-network.org), will examine the IIRSA initiative and SAP’s work to improve the current spatial transformations reshaping the South American hinterlands.

Santiago del Hierro Kennedy, of PUCE, and Roger Sherman, of the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design and its think tank, cityLAB, and of Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design, are the co-organizers of the event.

Other conference participants include: Susanna Hecht, professor of urban planning, Urban Planning Department, Luskin School of Public Affairs, UCLA; Greg Lindsay, journalist and co-author with John D. Kasarda of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next (Farrar, Straus and Girous, 2011); and Henk Ovink, deputy director of spatial planning, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Netherlands; chair, Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force; and senior advisor to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.

In addition, representatives of the Provincial Government of Sucumbios in Ecuador and nongovernmental organizations working in that country will also be in attendance.

UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design
Room 1029B, Perloff Hall (ground floor)
UCLA Campus

June 11, 9 am – 6 pm

9:00 – 11:00 am
Presentation and discussion of the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) initiative and the South American Project (SAP)
Felipe Correa, Ana Maria Duran Calisto

11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Presentation and discussion of proposals for Puerto Providencia, Ecuador, by students of Pontificia Universidad Catolica Ecuador (PUCE)
Santiago del Hierro Kennedy

1:00 – 2:00 pm: Lunch

2:00 – 5:30 pm
Presentation and discussion of proposals for Puerto Providencia, Ecuador, by UCLA students 
Roger Sherman

5:30 pm — 6:00 pm
Roundtable Discussion/Wrap Up
Roger Sherman, Santiago del Hierro

6:00 pm
Reception/Taco Party
Perloff Courtyard
Open to all

The conference is funded by the UCLA Latin American Institute and hosted by Sherman Research Studio as part of RUMBLE, the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design’s annual year-end exposition.


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