Revelatory Design, Making legible the local implication of a national energy infrastructure.
Arevalo Alvear, Gabriela Estefania
Type of DegreeLandscape Thesis
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This year The National Park Service is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. Since the creation of the first National Park America has shown its interest in preserving and protecting the nation’s cultural and natural resources. Consequently, ideas like Yellow Stone National Park or the Appalachian trail responded to one radical idea that has evolved into a cohesive national effort to maintain the natural world and its relationship with humans. These decisions were a direct consequence to the notion that people have about “nature” or “wilderness” at that time. They are always trying to find new areas to protect. In this rapidly changing world, where environmental concerns and resources management are a matter of the utmost importance, generating a new radical idea about nature-human relationship is needed. This is the moment to consider other types of landscapes (that are highly manipulated by and for humans) as sublime and beautiful places. Extraction sustains our society; cities rely on energy but we are disconnected from the landscapes that are being exploited in order to yield that energy. As the world population increases, urban areas or consumption landscapes expand correspondingly but spatially removed from landscapes of extractions. As a result, a vast area of earth is being exploited, and the network to transport those resources is growing as well. Meanwhile, our relationship to energy landscapes recedes ever further from daily view. The USA government is investing in the development of other types of renewable energies regimes like solar and wind on vast stretches of landscape all across American West. (Bureau of Land Management). This shift is an opportunity for designers to rethink landscapes of energy regimes with the goal of generating a shift in the way humans interact with these places. Americans, in particular, are the biggest consumers of electricity and thus produce more harmful greenhouse gases that can accelerate global climate change (Revkin). This is the reason why creating value in places of extraction transmission and consumption can generate a change. Considering utility corridors as part of the Park National Service, is an important and radical idea that can provide a great amount of land to the benefit of humans and other species. In an attempt to reexamine the use of utility corridors, this study explores the possibility of creating a regional hiking Armature for people that want to experience a new idea of nature and wilderness, and its relationship with energy infrastructure regimes. The trail is designed as an ecologically landscape that, when viewed and experienced holistically can mediate the disparity between postcard nature, real nature, and manipulated nature by creating spaces that reveal more nuanced understanding of wilderness and energy regimes infrastructure landscapes. Once the idea of a utility corridor has been determined, it is necessary to think about what kind of experience the visitor should have in order to generate an impact on interaction of people with natural resources and landscapes of energy regimes. In order to accomplished a ground breaking experience that will influence that change of perspective this thesis studies transmission landscapes through the lens of revelatory design with the purpose of making legible the local implication of a national energy infrastructure. In the state of Alabama, the Sabal Trail, a 515-mile proposed Interstate underground pipeline which crosses different ecosystems of various land-uses and ecological conditions, is the ground for exploration. This local example is an opportunity to test the ideas. This thesis in a one year investigation that explores different strategies of revelatory design to show the local implications of energy Regimes.