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

This multi-year ecological planning project is a collaboration among the Government of The Bahamas, the Bahamas National Trust, and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (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 project has two parallel and mutually informing components: research and education. These components work to inform the development of proposals and interventions as well as the building of capabilities for local empowerment. An important part of the project are a series of Scholarships for the degree programs as well as opportunities for Bahamians to engage in the summer Design Discovery program at the GSD. Furthermore, the project is integrated with the research and pedagogy of the GSD.

The project seeks to understand local issues through various forms of public engagement. Public forums, workshops, and conferences are part of the process, in addition to fieldwork that facilitates the connection of researchers with residents. The first year focused on fieldwork including participation in daily routines that created a better understanding of local issues particularly across Exuma and more generally across The Bahamas. The second year of the project focuses on proposal making, where we design and imagine projects that have the potential for a long-term spatial and economic impact, while the third year focuses on a plan for action and implementation.

The project’s research branches into four main parts: Resource Management, Economic Development, Governance, and Sociocultural Issues.

These four components break into more specific subcomponents, including analysis of: Geology; Economy; Waste; Energy; Food; Water; Mobility; Tourism; Community; Routines; Visual Pollution; and Legal Frameworks. The project also identifies a series of case studies on ecology-based settlements around the world which offer potential lessons for the future of Exuma.

Principal Investigators
Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design
Gareth Doherty, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Design

Research Associates
Jose Maria Ortiz Cotro MDes (Fieldwork, Research)
Robert Daurio MArch (Mapping, Design)
Fábio Duarte PhD (Planning, Management)

Post-doctoral Fellow
Liat Racin

Research Assistants
Dane Carlson
Miguel Lopez Melendez

Learn more about the project at sustainableexuma.org