Reimaging the Arid

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Book Section

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From the South: Global Perspectives on Landscape and Territory


International Landscape Collaborative

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This paper is an initial interrogation into the arid territories of the world that make up approximately one-third of the earth’s land surface. Its elusive understanding has perpetuated urban interventions that mismanage or ignore the arid as a landscape that has value. By examining the arid through a series of critical cartographies, this research aims to redefine the reductive rhetoric that most commonly describes it as barren, empty, and void. Rather than continuing to accept the arid as a tertiary landscape to its vegetated, wet counterparts, this interrogation positions the arid as a rich, diverse, resilient, fertile landscape inhabited by over 2.5 billion people—worthy of equal inclusion throughout design discourse. This paper enacts the arid discussion by first understanding its innate boundaries and perceptions. Then through various maps depicting population, water stresses, and agriculture, the research posits that the arid has many challenges that require further inquiry. As an instigation for subsequent research initiatives, the paper aims to present the timeliness of an arid reimaging and why in the context of environmental uncertainties, the arid can no longer be ignored.


Arid territories; Landscape; Perceptions; Maps; Arid reimaging


Architecture | Landscape Architecture



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