In the Andhikhola valley of Syangja district, frequent floods cause human fatalities, destroy livelihoods, and wash away homes: this is a humanitarian problem. In response, we propose to develop a process, both replicable at scale and adaptable to site-specific conditions, to build local flood disaster resiliency using community engagement and landscape design. This work will take place on a stretch of the Andhikhola River within Syangja district between Rangkhola and Lampata.
The project explores how existing work in livelihoods can shape or be shaped by the design and implementation of resiliency-building landscape infrastructure. It is also interested in exploring the redirection of environmentally harm- ful labor, such as gravel harvesting from streambeds, toward the building, maintenance, and stewardship of a com- munal productive landscape. The work of livelihoods programs spans several time scales; understanding the com- plexities and dynamics of working with both short and long-term project goals is also necessary to this project.
Relevance and Impacts
This project introduces a replicable resiliency-building process which responds to site-specific natural and cultural forms, practices, capacities, and systems, to propose landscape infrastructures founded in local context. This pro- cess is rooted in community through site research, stakeholder discussions, design workshops. While recognizing the value of hydraulic, mechanical, and bio-engineering methods, this work challenges the disconnect between community and engineered interventions common through Nepal and beyond. The power of this process is that it will lead to resiliency design and proposals for new physical infrastructures responsive to local context and utilizing resources such as local labor, construction knowledge, social frameworks, and beyond. It will also propose long-term engagement strategies, such as a youth river-steward program, which tie this new infrastructure to social and cultural fabrics. The innovation here also lies in the application of the principles of design utilized in an increas- ing number of urban and coastal resiliency projects in a rural agricultural context within the developing world. This project explores design methods intended to build resiliency in landscape systems, reducing the vulnerability of landscape-based livelihoods and their practitioners (farmers, herders, etc.) to flooding and its e ects. It also gives agency to local capacity and knowledge through the community engagement process, leading to a place-based in- frastructural solution. This project is important because it sits at the intersection of disaster resiliency, environmental conservation, climate change adaptation, food security, and cultural landscape, negotiating between these many concurrent narratives.