Forest Management Strategies and the New Nature State

Julia Smachylo

This research project investigates the socio-ecological interconnectedness of larger territories that are operationalized, transformed, regulated, and designed in relation to state-incentivized forest conservation practices. The project involves an in-depth investigation into the changing institutional structure and power of the state, and the evolving boundaries and frontiers of specific areas in relation to conservation and urban growth pressures. At the local level, the project investigates questions of the spatial nature of natural resource conservation and land-based identities (for example, the cultural attachments to territory and/or particular values associated with land use).

Alongside these more traditional methods, I will be exploring the transformative role of media in the documentation of natural and cultural heritage, and the potential of new technologies to mediate culture, history, objects, and subjects in new forms.  As a member of the Critical Media Practice doctoral specialism at Harvard, I envision my media-related work as contributing to an expanded understanding of urban design and landscape studies, to uncover certain place-based spatial dynamics tied to different ways of valuing the environment, revealing the logics and principles behind different aggregations, agglomerations and patterns at various scales.

Planned outcome:  doctoral dissertation, Harvard GSD

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