A Sustainable Future for Exuma: A Traveling Toolbox

This multi-year research and education project is a collaboration among the Government of The Bahamas, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), and the GSD. The goal is to facilitate the design and management of a more sustainable future for the Exuma archipelago, and The Bahamas more generally.

The world is currently facing many ecological challenges relating to questions of resource, scarcity, pollution, climate change and risk. Such issues are amplified on fragile island communities. In this context, how should society and governments anticipate the future of citizens? What plans should be made?

Exuma, a chain of 365 islands and cays, face a particular set of challenges, but also distinct opportunities. These challenges relate to issues of development, education, employment, environmental management, public health and tourism. How best to focus on preservation and sustaining the natural resources, beauty, and way of life of Exuma while planning carefully for the islands’ future well-being, and that of the residents? The ultimate goal of the project is to achieve a better understanding of alternative modes of developing and planning a more sustainable future for Exuma.

From the beginning, it was made clear that the Government of The Bahamas, the BNT, and the community in Exuma did not want another exogenous land use plan that would “sit on a shelf.” Rather, they wanted a process that would lead to a tangible difference in people’s’ lives. This required an innovative planning process and a novel research approach, which was centered on fieldwork and engagement.

This traveling exhibition of draft materials is part of this ongoing process of engagement. Housed in the boxes are several tools which can be utilized for the spatial, economic, and aesthetic development of the islands. Also shown are facsimiles of paintings and documents from the Harvard Art Museums and university archives documenting the historic links between Harvard and The Bahamas. The traveling toolbox will be shown at various locations in The Bahamas during the winter of 2016.

A Sustainable Future for Exuma:
Environmental Management, Design, and Planning

Mohsen Mostafavi, Principal Investigator
Gareth Doherty, Co-principal Investigator

Mariano Gomez Luque (MArch ‘13, DDes ’17)
Rob Daurio (MArch ’13), Research Associate
Suryani Dewa Ayu (Harvard College 2015)
Gareth Doherty (DDes ’10), Faculty Advisor

Exhibition Research and Design:
Mariano Gomez Luque (MArch ‘13, DDes ’17)
Rob Daurio (MArch ‘13)

Frances Loeb Library:
Ann Whiteside, Frances Loeb Library Director
Inés Zalduendo, Special Collections Archivist & Reference Librarian
Irina Gorstein, Conservator
Alix Reiskind, Digital Initiatives Librarian

Department of Exhibitions and Communications:
Dan Borelli (MDes ‘12)
David Zimmerman-Stuart
Travis Dagenais
Daniel Rauchwerger

Special thanks to:
Benjamin Prosky
Julia Goldmacher
Karen Kitterdge
Maggie Janik
Melissa Vaughn
Stephanie Salaomon
Suneeta Gill