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Resources.10 Bio-topical: Goa
From the Grounds Series.

Bio-topical: Goa

The world’s population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. An increase which will occur primarily in Asia’s coastal and delta regions. These geographies contain an inherent dichotomy. By providing such fertile grounds for living beings, so many individuals are attracted to them that their advantageous biological conditions become threatened. Do human needs and urban development necessarily stand in opposition to biological diversity? Could urbanization include other ways of interpreting the prevailing schism between nature and culture? Can biological processes provide clues to innovation and even inclusive development?

Resources.10 looked towards the west coast of India and the state of Goa with its tropical biotope and ongoing generation of a unique urbanity. Goa has clearly cultivated its own identity despite almost 500 years of colonialism and it has an almost mythical reputation for being the Paradise on earth, with a biological diversity only exceeded by the Amazonian jungle. What was once a refuge for western wanderers; today Goa has become a holiday destination for Indians and charter tourists. At the same time Goa is in the midst of an intense debate concerning its urban future. Activists envision an urban system in which villages and towns intersperse with managed landscapes, growing into an economic, and physical whole. Included in this vision is a shift from the present major sources of income ? including rice-fields and a devastating mining industry ? to a diversified agricultural production, biotechnology and eco-tourism. Can Goa show the way for the rest of India in a transformation from a rural to an urban economy and thereby offering a convincing urban alternative to the mega-cities? Could Goa’s biological and cultural diversity contribute to a resilient urban complex? Would such a hybrid be another way of understanding Urban life?
resources10_prospectFurther course info here

The Response

There is a common understanding that Goa is a different place. Goa is India but at the same time it is not. Goa is urban but at the same time, not. Goa is paradise on earth, but at the same time one that is rapidly disappearing creating a sad longing for the place it once was, or rather a sad longing for the place it could have become. Resources’ interest in Goa lies in all of these contradictions, but particularly in the correlation between an alternative urbanity and a vision of paradise of a network of characteristic villages and a lush omnipresent landscape. This condition of an urban and natural layering was until recently the very essence of Goa. It was what made Goa different. However, the current economic development is pushing Goa onto a more traditional route, transforming its existing network into a painfully familiar semi-urbanity.

What does a desirable habitat look like that uses ecosystem services and natural resources as a basis to provide a socially and culturally just environment? Can urban qualities and desirable lifestyles be combined with biodiversity in a compelling way? Resources.10 has studied an alternative model for growth in which development is rethought. Mutual for our proposals is the need for a change in mindset.

Goa is undergoing a transformation, but the direction is still undefined. Can its still flourishing landscape and dynamic social capital provide fertile grounds that could help us redefine our concepts of growth?

Autumn Term 2010
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Spring Term 2011
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Download catalogue for final project:
Fertile Futures - Goa Beyond the Dilemma of Growth.

wall More exhibition images/stories/mejanarc here.