Erosion Based Urbanism

A project focused on Kiribati, a country in the central Pacific Ocean formed by 32 atolls. LAIA is involved in to help the country to preserve the mainland available in their territory, and if possible, to increase it.

Erosion Based Urbanism

Approach

The current state of this project is represented by Kiribati Adaptation Program, a program initiated by the World Bank and funded by entities such as the Asian Development Bank, where sea walls are being proposed as the solution to stop sea-level rise effects on atolls.

However, these types of hard and static interventions create secondary issues due to the deviation of natural cycles such as ocean current and wind. Nature always finds its way, and because of these static walls/defenses, water is inundating areas which are not enclosed by these walls, thus contaminating groundwaters. It also increases erosion effects in other areas. An example occurred in Tarawa (the main island) when the expressway was built to connect Betio Island to the rest of the atoll, developed by New Zealand. The result of this intervention was the erosion of a small island located within the lagoon of the atoll, called Bikeman Island.

However, these types of hard and static interventions create secondary issues due to the deviation of natural cycles such as ocean current and wind. Nature always finds its way, and because of these static walls/defenses, water is inundating areas which are not enclosed by these walls, thus contaminating groundwaters. It also increases erosion effects in other areas. An example occurred in Tarawa (the main island) when the expressway was built to connect Betio Island to the rest of the atoll, developed by New Zealand. The result of this intervention was the erosion of a small island located within the lagoon of the atoll, called Bikeman Island.
LAIA Lab Masterplan. Area of intervention: Kiribati, Tarawa Atoll

Masterplan

Given the failure presented by sea walls and other hard interventions, we propose the use of organic systems to protect Kiribati's mainland, ones that can adapt with the dynamism of atolls based on the growth and erosion of land. In this sense, the following techniques can be replicated and applied to similar ecosystems: a) Electrochemical reef construction, a way to regenerate coral reefs based on electro-estimulation; b) Regenerating autochthonous flora such as mangroves, or algae; c) Construction system to be used, based on local materials and construction methods. Our proposal develops these possibilities in detail.

Ecosystem

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