LATIN AMERICA IN TRANSITION: Ecological Design for Settlements & Climate Migration in Argentina

We face a vulnerable future due to the accelerated intensity of natural and humanitarian disasters. The resultant scale of unprecedented migration has been coupled with a lack of infrastructures to accommodate the climatic displacement giving rise to new and more complex forms of vulnerability. While current estimates account for 250 million of international migrants, predictions indicate that by 2050 this number will increase to 350 million of which 60% will have been displaced due to environmental factors. These climate crises accentuate inequalities as the most vulnerable groups resort to informal settlements in areas with the greatest exposure to effects of environmental hazards. In short, in the near future, the landscape of informality will be a direct reflection of the effects of climate change and its intensified migration. Latin America exemplifies this twofold transition as approximately one third of its urban dwellers live in informal settlements.  

The studio will focus on Argentina where throughout the past five years, the number of informal settlements has seen a 25% increase from about 4,000 to 5,000. We will work throughout a series of precarious neighborhoods in the city of Buenos Aires along the Riachuelo river as we plan, design, and speculate on the ecological infrastructure needed to integrate vulnerable settlements into the formal city. Students will reflect on how to adequately articulate the climate transition impacting the areas where the most vulnerable live by designing proposals to mitigate/anticipate, adapt/connect, and restore/upgrade these settlements. The studio is open to students across all departments and programs. As a collective project, we will collaborate with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies gathering experts on the topic across Harvard University and Latin America and in an exhibition titled Latin America in Transition.