Marcel is a M.Arch. and Urban and Regional Design candidate at UNM. This research was made possible in part by funding from the Latin American & Iberian Institute and Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant (FRG). For more information about the FRG, visit the LAII website.
Sunrise at Choquequirao - Photo by Author
In conjunction with completing a Master of Architecture degree and the Graduate Certificate Program in Urban and Regional Design at the University of New Mexico, the author of this report has proposed a research project to document the ecological effects of Inca architectural planning and construction. The hypothesis is that, to this day, the ecology of Peru is strengthened by the design and engineering work of the Inca civilization. This research intends to show that some of the lasting effects of their civilization include increased biodiversity, mitigated drought conditions, cleaner river water, denser plant growth, and more bountiful habitats for humans and animals.
Sustainability is becoming a critical issue in the design and retrofitting of human settlements. According to a World Watch Institute-funded study performed in 2012, Peru is the only country in the world that could be considered sustainable (Assadourian et al. 2012). Still, drastic economic inequality and industrialized infrastructures are negatively impacting the diverse ecosystems and populations that compose the country. Solutions to some of these problems may be found within the venerable design strategies of the Inca. However, some key data and analyses are still missing from the body of research on Inca design and land use. This information is necessary to identify with precision the ecological benefits that might be possible to replicate by employing a truly bioresponsive design strategy.
Elizabeth is a dual degree M.A. candidate in Latin American Studies and MSCRP at UNM. This research was made possible in part by funding from the Latin American & Iberian Institute and Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant (FRG). For more information about the FRG, visit the LAII website.
Radio Ixchel, Sam Pango, Guatemala
This summer my thesis research had me travelling though the Sierra Madre Mountains in Guatemala to conduct field research on my Master’s thesis on community radio and international development. While weaving through the Highlands to various research sites on the legendary camionetas (local buses), I had three goals in mind: (1) to learn how local community development in the Guatemalan Highlands is in part facilitated through the international NGO, Cultural Survival’s Community Radio Project; (2) to understand how local issues of indigenous rights and development inform the international development goals of Cultural Survival; and (3) to observe how community radio is used as a tool in local development efforts. I approached the democratization of media, indigenous rights, alternative community-based planning, and international development using three field methodologies: (1) interviewing community radio volunteers and Cultural Survival’s Radio Project Coordinators; (2) observing community radio workshops that Cultural Survival attended; (3) listening to community radio broadcasts.