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Cultivating Self-Sustaining Rural Communities: A Design Exploration for Development in Puna, Hawai'i

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Item Summary

Title:Cultivating Self-Sustaining Rural Communities: A Design Exploration for Development in Puna, Hawai'i
Authors:Kam, Ryan
Community Development
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Date Issued:May 2016
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2016]
Abstract:This design-research project investigates architectural and planning strategies for developing self-sustaining rural communities. With the Hawaiian Islands being the most isolated land masses in the world, indigenous settlers were not afforded the luxury of imported food or goods. These Hawaiian settlers exercised careful land-use practices, and formed close relationships with their natural environment, which they understood to be imperative for their existence.
However, in the modern globalizing economy, architecture and planning in Hawai`i has become increasingly indiscriminate to its land and natural resources. Development has largely been driven by private economic gain, and has, in many ways, disregarded critical social, cultural, and ecological needs, which are vital to achieving sustainable communities. Community backlash in many recent highly politicized building projects has become progressively noted, and reveals the need for Hawai`i to reconsider its architecture, planning, and land-use practices.
Although such tensions are most apparent in Hawai`i’s urban cores, which have developed in the matter of decades, pressures have quietly shifted to Hawai`i’s remaining rural regions. This project focuses its research investigation on Puna, a rural district on the Island of Hawai`i, which currently outpaces the growth rate of Honolulu threefold. Punaʻs historic changes in land-use are analyzed, as well as the subsequent impacts to the sustainability of its communities. From the findings of this analysis, architecture and planning principles are formulated with the intent of enabling self-sustaining rural communities. A conceptual design intervention demonstrates the applicability of these principles in the final section of this project. The theoretical design principles presented herein aim to serve as a precedent, which can be translated by other rural Hawai`i communities to formulate and meet their own sustainability goals.
Ultimately, this project intends to contribute to a sustainable future for the people of Hawai`i. It alludes to the idea that an existence on an islands, with limited resources, requires a unique approach that critically responds to its natural environment, an mindset which formed the roots of Hawaiian culture and allowed them to flourish in isolation for centuries.
Description:D.Arch. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: D.ARCH. - Architecture

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