I just turned in my proposal entitled "ground|water: negotiating terra firma in urbanized river deltas" for U.C. Berkeley Architecture Department's Branner Traveling Fellowship. I am competing with nine other students for 3-6 fellowships to travel the world in order to perform field research in your thesis topic area. We should find out by August 10th. I'll keep you posted.
Excerpt from proposal:
"Recent trends in architectural, landscape and urban planning discourses have generally endorsed and advocated multi-disciplinary approaches to urban design intent on producing more sustainable and integrated built environments. Movements such as “Landscape Urbanism”, or the more recent and ecologically centered “Ecological Urbanism”, boast academic acclaim1 and showcase hundreds of evocative projects and proposals. Yet these movements are far from universally accepted or legitimized and to some seem loaded with empty and conflated rhetoric. Aside from criticism of their rhetoric though, implicit in much of the discourse is the assertion that man’s building practices directly and negatively affect environment, climate and ecosystem, and that man is capable of the task of balancing and improving them; a fact that many today can not deny. While these discourses remain predominantly academic, their underlying objective remains unavoidably relevant as we are constantly reminded of the need for such intervention occur. Recent disasters such as the tsunami in Japan or flooding in Pakistan reinforce the mandates for more sustainable and defensible modes of urbanization. This leaves these discourses in a strange place; in a constant set of negotiations. Negotiations between rhetoric and action; conservation and progress; ecology and humanity; and ultimately between nature and man.
"I would like to instigate a reassessment of our understanding of man’s relationship to where land meets water in architectural practice. Inspired the APA’s recent initiative entitled “Delta Urbanism” and U.C. Berkeley Landscape Architecture Department’s “Delta Initiative”, I will use the Branner Traveling Fellowship to examine the “cultural ecology” within architectural practice in urbanized deltas by traveling to 9 of world’s most developed and historic river deltas. In doing so, a comprehensive archive of these unique and fragile delta building cultures would be assembled, intent on revealing dynamic and sustainable approaches for inevitable future delta development."