Virginia Calkins challenged our Wednesday lunchers: how do you promote trade through a materials-rich region and downplay material exploitation? The peoples of the Amazon basin are particularly keen to find an answer. Following the 1960's discovery of oil and the recent proposal of new trade routes, rural Ecuador has become the subject of contentious battles for land and development.
Calkins represents a design studio hoping to stem the influx of unsustainable development by applying incentives to let the land alone, and engage locals in the conversation.
The Manta-Manaus Multi-Modal Corridor has been getting a lot of ink for sparing Brazil several weeks' shipping time on goods destined to Asia. This corridor links the Ecuadorian port town of Manta via roads to the Amazon and ultimately Manaus, a riverside city in the middle of Brazil.
Few are asking how such a corridor would impact an indigenous population that has already seen 30% of a rainforest destroyed by development, mostly in search of oil.
The Manta-Manaus Design and Research Studios out of the Catholic University of Quinto, Ecuador, is part of the South America Project in studying the effects of development along the corridor on the region and its inhabitants. A multidisciplinary effort, the Studio will spend three semesters working with Ecuadoran villages to find solutions to this dilemma in three zones.
"Shift the paradigm:"