Contributions Workshop 1.3.D:
Sustainability of urban agglomerations in Mountain regions, especially in developing nation contexts

ID: 120
Workshop & Poster
Urbanization impacts on Andean smallholders: What do we harvest after "sowing" concrete?
Keywords: urbanization, land cover change, vertical land use systems, sustainability, Peru

Haller, Andreas
Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

In central Andean valleys and basins of Peru, the processes of physical, demographic and sociocultural urbanization have diverse impacts on smallholders who live on the periurban interface between city and countryside—an area characterized by the “sowing of concrete.” To promote sustainable development in and around urban agglomerations, understanding both drivers and consequences of physical urbanization is crucial, as is the quantitative analysis of land cover changes in these urban–rural systems.

Using remote-sensing data, census results, and existing scientific literature, the present paper—in preparation for the project Periurban Form in the Peruvian Andes, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) [project no. P 31855]—aims (1) to understand the urban development of the agglomeration of Huaraz over the last three decades; (2) to detect land cover change within the study area during the periods of 1988–1998, 1998–2008, and 2008–2018; and (3) to quantify and explain change trajectories, giving emphasis to the different altitudinal belts as defined by Javier Pulgar Vidal.

This research contributes to answering the general questions, (1) how urbanization changes vertical agricultural land use systems, and (2) how these changes in turn affect urban agglomerations. Finally, the paper poses questions for future research needed to ensure a future-proof development in urban–rural systems of the central Andes.

ID: 262
Workshop & Poster
MEASURING IDENTITY: The Impact of Infrastructure on Isolated Mountain Communities

Fitzpatrick, Haley
Monviso Institute (MVI), Ostana Italy

Workshop Abstract:

Mountains tend to summon universal thoughts of cragged snowy peaks and glacial lakes. Yet societies around the globe have developed highly distinct anthropogenic responses to the challenges and opportunities present in isolated alpine regions. Space-making solutions in mountains, from macro-scale urban networks to water collection details, strike a balance between cultural specificity and climactic consistency: all roofs must support snow loads, yet from Bhutan to Bolivia the design responses differ drastically. In contrast to rather cloistered building practices such as roofs, infrastructural exchange (such as war, trade, colonialism and tourism) have likewise diffused ideas, technologies, and design strategies across and within mountain landscapes, questioning notions of familiarity and “foreignness”. How can physical and symbolic identities be leveraged to create sustainable futures for remote mountain communities?

Exposing, measuring and recording such dynamic exchange processes and patterns is vital for empowering alpine environments, where many territories today face drastic climate change, mass emigration and economic decline. Most affected are remote mountain villages, where increased literal and figurative connection to nearby urban counterparts can often be polemical. In order to rethink future, sustainable identities for such marginal areas, this research applies the traditionally scientific theory of island biogeography to better understand and encourage mutually resilient relationships within alpine urban agglomerations.

Applying theory to practice, this workshop contribution will synthesize these ideas with the pertinent case study of Ostana, Italy and the efforts of the MonViso Institute (MVI). Sited within the Po River watershed, this remote Occitan village exemplifies a upwardly, transitional community, as it rebuilds cultural heritage and economic opportunity through revitalization projects, after an impoverishing near-extinction 50 years ago. Within Ostana’s contextual “alpine renaissance” MVI operates as a laboratory for socio-ecological resilience and renewable systems, aiming to cultivate a model of sustainable alpine development in the Italian alps and beyond.

Poster Abstract:

 Not only will the poster act as an illustrative guide to the principles outlined in the Workshop Abstract, but it will also conceptually speak to the author’s on-going project: a “Living Atlas” of underrepresented mountain communities around the globe, from the Andes, Himalayas, European and Japanese Alps. The spatial and temporal complexity of mountains cannot adequately be expressed in two-dimensionality, which has been the default answer for centuries. Thus, through sculptural form like temporary land arts and models, storytelling and participatory mapping, the “Living Atlas” aspires to ethically reveal the hidden histories and possible futures of dynamic alpine landscapes.

With this holistic methodology in mind, interdisciplinary data (from political to climactic, biological to lingual) of the eleven “Occitan Valleys” will be visualized in a series of multi-scalar, layered maps. Consequently, the poster will then “zoom in” on Ostana and the surrounding Po River watershed, with diagrams of economic trends, urban and rural design patterns, ecosystem services, local narratives, etc. Unlike many prosperous urbanized Italian valleys, the Po’s historical lack of ski/mountaineering tourism, industrial scale mining/logging combined with a recently growing refugee population and heavy, private automobile dependency makes Ostana a highly relevant case study for exploring new models of resilient alpine growth. Furthermore, using the MonViso Institute’s masterplan, workshop outcomes and future “Design Talks” series, the poster will also demonstrate MVI’s efforts in fostering research and education of systemic design solutions within Ostana.


ID: 518
Workshop & Poster
Urban water in Leh – a political-ecological analysis in the Indian Transhimalaya
Keywords: Water, Ladakh, Urbanisation, Transhimalaya, Political Ecology

Müller, Judith
Heidelberg University, Germany

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

Urbanisation processes and limited water availability create challenges for water governance in arid mountain regions. This is also the case for Leh, Ladakh, where snow and glacial melt runoff are important water sources and water availability is subject to a high variability throughout the year. Different uses of water resources by various actor groups lead to conflicting interests.

Urbanisation in Leh is characterised by an extensive spatial expansion and an increasing densification of built-up areas. Whereas growth rates of the permanent urban population are moderate, the seasonal growth of urban inhabitants which is not quantified, is impacting the urban metabolism. Temporal influx encompasses a rapidly growing number of domestic and international tourists and labour migrants from rural Ladakh, the Indian lowlands and Nepal. Hence, especially in spring and summertime, water resources experience stress.

Using a methodological triangulation, quantitative and qualitative social methods helped to sketch out the diverse urban waterscape in the high mountain town of Leh. Household surveys were conducted to gain information about socio-economic structures, water use and urbanisation patterns. To deepen the understanding of dynamics, structures and everyday practices, in-depth interviews with different actors from the government, NGOs, economy, and the local population were undertaken. Moreover, a document analysis exposed discourses on modernity and development in the changing waterscape.

Findings show that whereas agricultural water use is on the decline, private households change their water use habits and a shift towards the tertiary sector, especially tourism, induces an increase of freshwater used and sanitation water produced. A large scale, national water scheme is currently realised in order to facilitate water supply and create a sanitation system. Citizens are connected to the grid to varying extents and different levels of “water citizenship” (Paerregaard 2016) seem to exist:


ID: 553
Specific Research Poster

Antonescu, Daniela
Center of Mountain Economy CE-MONT, Romania

Poster Abstract:

Recently, the Mountain Law has been approved in Romania (July, 2018), which aims to capitalizing on natural, human and mountain products, along with raising living standards, stabilizing the population, preserving cultural identity, increasing economic power at local and regional level, preserving the ecological balance and protecting the natural environment. This paper aims to present the main aspects regulated by the Mountain Law in Romania.


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