Kiley Fellow Lecture: Tomás Folch, “Hydraulic Geographies: Atlas of the Urban Water in the Andean Region”

Blue and gray map of glaciers near South America.

Glaciers in the Andes ©SOI

A recording of this event is available with audio description.

Event Description

Latin America contains 31% of the world’s water sources.  Adding in the Caribbean, drinking water coverage in the area reaches 94% compared to developing countries. However, 37 million people still do not have access to water, and 100 million lack access to sanitation (World Bank). Chile, for its part, has 99% drinking water coverage. However, a large amount of its territory is in a continental zone that will be strongly affected by the future consequences of climate change, both because of droughts and floods, a product of the receding of the Andean glaciers and of the evolution of projected precipitation patterns. Thus, climate change will force the Andean regions to rethink how they manage their water resources and the infrastructure that supports their management. Better collection, storage, and distribution systems will be essential when promoting ecological and socially sustainable development. It is necessary to have an integrated view of resources and the infrastructure that manages them, thinking about the multiple dimensions to which these could cohesively respond.


Headshot of Tomas Folch, who wears all black.Tomás Folch, MLA ’12, is currently a professor and Co-Director of the Center for Ecology, Landscape and Urbanism –CEPU- of the Design Lab of the Adolfo Ibañez University in Santiago and a Founding Partner at PAUR. Folch earned his undergraduate Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, and his Masters in Landscape Architecture from the GSD.

Trained as an architect, his professional work has expanded the scales of architecture, urban design, and landscape through professional experience with production on heritage and urban recovery projects, housing and social equipment, landscape architecture, and territorial planning. He is co-founder with Sofia Armanet of Paisaje Urbano -PAUR- where their work has been oriented to public space and includes built projects such as urban parks in informal areas, restoration designs for urban wetlands in Santiago, and consultancy for international agencies for the informal city in Latin.

His work has been featured in international exhibitions, such as the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture and the 2006 Architecture Biennial of Chile in the category of emerging generation. He has received numerous awards, such as the National Exhibition Award in the Architecture Biennial of Santiago 2008, the South-South Professional Award of the XX Architecture Biennial of Chile 2017 for being the proposal more effective in establishing a horizontal dialogue with the geographies of the global south, and the PAU 2017 Urban Contribution Award in the categories of Best Height Building Project and Best Urban Project for Subsidized Housing.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].