In the Hurricane, On the Land


To be “in the hurricane” is to live and work with shoreline erosion, droughts, and intense storms—it is to recognize how the contemporary climate crisis transcends all and entangles us collectively in its gyre. We live in a time of collective disorientation that affects marginalized communities, often land-dependent ones more than others.

The CCA-Mellon Multidisciplinary Research Program seeks new and urgent modes of orientation that ask earthbound designers and their allies to ground and value land: lands held by others in care and lands that have been claimed, reclaimed, and not ceded. It is a call to undertake research and design projects that are site-specific, climate-dependent, historically attuned, and collaborative. As a collective and all-encompassing state, being “in the hurricane” calls for grounded, land-caring practices that match the intensity of the storm.

The practices of land-dependent designers are central to the CCA-Mellon Multidisciplinary Research Program. To this end, we seek proposals about specific, real-world sites that engage communities with ties and commitments to land and solicit projects that do this intentionally over time and with a view toward relationship building. Projects that are urgent, grounded, redefine land-based practices, and emphasize site-specific concerns and community members will form the grounds of research, collaboration, and intervention suggested by the concept of being “in the hurricane.”

Topics participants may address include, but are not limited to:

• Redefinitions and expansions of landscape architecture as a practice, particularly in relation to the climate crisis
• Learning from existing regenerative, restorative, and/or reparative land practices
• Role of Indigenous, migrant, and other communities that have been separated from land
• Collective memory and displacement from land
• Landholding as a capitalist practice
• Survival as a design philosophy
• Theoretical foundations of land across political philosophy and/or legal studies
• Hurricanes as metaphors and sites
• Historical approaches to land politics across time periods and geographies, with a particular focus on moments of crisis
• Field research as a land-dependent practice
• Global warming as a land-dependent phenomenon
• Connections between infrastructure and land
• Land politics and ecological change

Landscape architecture, architecture, and their allied fields can learn to listen to damaged lands that have been forced to be resilient. Land-dependent design holds the potential to become a shared mode of inquiry, one that can create new collaborative practices addressing ecologies and lands, constructions of landscapes and infrastructures, and architectural works.  For practitioners, researchers, and activists in landscape architecture, urban planning, Indigenous studies, postcolonial studies, political ecology, and beyond, to hold land in care is to consider where we stand.

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