HydROLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE SAHEL
This research project has looked at how the practice of landscape architecture can be applied to improve existing infrastructure systems for the irrigation of agricultural areas upstream of the Inner Niger Delta in Mali. The Sahel region is an area defined by extreme climate and annual precipitation levels between 150mm - 650mm, where most of the year is very dry and a small amount of rain falls in a short rainy season.
be improved to become more resilient to an increasingly dynamic climate system? This project works across scales to create hybrid forms of infrastructure more dynamic and flexible, responding to local context while using a regional viewpoint sensitive to downstream needs and upstream demands from the fast growing urban population of Mali.
Within this harsh climate we find the Inner Niger Delta, a 25,000km² wetland oasis. Although the the Niger river headwaters are just a 250km from the Atlantic ocean, the river flows North-East to the delta towards the ancient city of Timbuktu, before it turns south to empty in the sea around Lagos.
Shallow form exhibits little attention to the basic environmental or ecological context, resulting in fracture-critical infrastructure which is prone to failure. Conventional applications of agricultural infrastructure are often insensitive to the local environment, and established on universal strategies based upon over-simplified caluclations of inputs and outputs. Geared towards ideas of efficiency,
Deep forms in the landscape exhibit an underlying relationship between culture and nature that stretches back in time and space. The physical presence of these forms in the landscape reflect practical compromise between social needs, physical constraints and ecological demands born out of basic necessity. and is often found in traditional practices of agriculture which have a demonstrated history of implementation