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Edra45 New Orleans Track 01: Shifting Latitudes
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This track will examine how a new conceptualization of latitude as a shifting temporal relation is useful for understanding rapidly shifting cultural values, social actors, and ecological vectors in times of large-scale environmental change.


Track Chair: Brian Davis


Keywords: latitude, migration, phenology, global north­south relations, climate change

Over the last hundred years latitude has been understood as a stable spatial relation. We look to places of similar latitude for precedents, concepts, and materials. However, as climatic volatility accelerates in the next hundred years, we will understand latitude as a shifting temporal relation, conceptualizing environmental dynamics primarily along a north­south axis. In the last ice age species migrations occurred, new hydrological patterns formed, human settlement patterns shifted and geological strata were realigned according to this axis. It is happening again.

Warming climates and changing weather patterns are prompting phenological shifts and species migrations to higher latitudes and elevations, while mobile populations move toward temperate climates. In 2011 UNESCO published Migration and Climate Change, emphasizing the increasingly important role of changing climate in current and future migrations. In 2012 the USDA issued the first revised plant hardiness zone map in 22 years; locations across the US were reclassified nearly 5° Fahrenheit warmer. The Arctic is becoming a geopolitical hotspot, while a recent law in Argentina recognizes migration to be an “essential and inalienable right” as immigration increases. These are just a few of the measures that indicate we are living in a time of massive social and environmental change.

In the next century the importance of mobility will increase and latitude will become a critical benchmark for design and planning that registers change and predicts future conditions. This track calls for work that explores approaches to rapidly shifting cultural values, social actors, and ecological vectors. What are the critical temporal and spatial scales in environmentally forced migrations, and how are designers engaging the mechanisms at work? How are shifting latitudes affecting neighborhoods, cities, watersheds, and regions in terms of policy, design, and planning research? What new alliances, both disciplinary and geographic, are being formed in response and what new approaches must be developed?


About the Track Chair:

Brian is an assistant professor in landscape architecture at Cornell University where he teaches design studios, construction technology, and a seminar on Latin American landscapes. Part of his research focuses on indigenous and contemporary Latin American forms of urbanism and landscape design with a special interest in ports, frontiers and borders, and forestry practices. In his work he also examines the role of technology in the representation and construction of industrial and recreational landscapes. He writes the blog landscape archipelago, and has lived and practiced in New York City, Buenos Aires, and Raleigh, North Carolina.


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