Date of Submission
Bachelor of Architecture
Located two degrees from the equator, west of the Amazon rain forest, and perched between the Guayas River and the Pacific Ocean, an Ecuadorian city named Guayaquil is home to the most bio-diverse environment in the world. In Red Book of Endemic Plants of Ecuador (2000), biologist Lorena Endara’s research was cataloged providing evidence that Ecuador has the highest concentration of species biodiversity. Based on this seminal report, the Ecuadorian government amended its constitution so the Red Book would be accepted as a governmental document, which was an important step for conservation planning and policy (2012). Unfortunately, the uncontrollable urban sprawl has caused a drastic divide between the city and ecology—the Guayas river acting as a clear axis. Guayaquil is consistently flooding and overrun with pollution that contaminates the river water. Legal and illegal settlements alike populate over 100 square miles of land, disregarding the already existing resiliency measures that should have been preserved. Pedagogically, this research project interrogates how the reconstitution of ecology can become a tool for urban design. Using a site-specific strategy as a method to inform the effects of the urban waterways, the design proposal will examine three flood zones in Guayaquil: Cuenca Norte, Cuenca Centro, and Cuenca Sur. By integrating endemic species as a catalyst to restore the balance between man and nature, this research will develop a systems-thinking solution that will improve citizen’s quality of life, as well as, revitalize endangered flora and fauna. This would facilitate the city’s growth and success over time. Using the urban edges, naturally created by the Guayas River and the built environment, the research project proposes a holistic approach to resiliency, which incorporates walk-able green areas, accessible river-fronts, and permeable roads that simultaneously act as a flood control, and air and water purification. A Symbiotic city, which grows with its surroundings and is all-inclusive.