Dry Futures: Design Competition on California’s Drought

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Dry Futures / Archinect

Archinect has launched a new competition that seeks “imaginative, pragmatic, idealist, and perhaps dsytopic” design proposals to address the future of water in California, as the most severe drought in a generation continues. The organizers point out that California only has about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and the state’s groundwater, which is supposed to be banked for the future, is being rapidly depleted by unabated industrial farming.

Archinect writes: “The stakes couldn’t be higher: not only is California the most populous state in country, it is by far the largest agricultural producer. According to many experts, the drought in California correlates to both unsustainable human practices and the larger product of unsustainable human activity: climate change. With current responses largely amounting to ‘too-little-too-late,’ the clock is ticking for California.”

The competition will divide submissions into two categories: “one for speculative projects that involve realities, futures or technologies not yet imagined and one for pragmatic responses that could actually be implemented within current economic and technological conditions.”

The inter-disciplinary jury includes: Allison Arieff, former editor of Dwell and now head of Spur; Geoff Manaugh, founder of BLDGBLOG; Hadley and Peter Arnold, co-founders of the Arid Land Institute, NASA’s Jay Famiglietti; Charles Anderson, FASLA, Werk; and Colleen Tuite and Ian Quate, founders of the “experimental landscape architecture studio” Green as F*ck.

Landscape architects: submit your ideas by September 1. There is an undetermined cash prize for the winners, which will be exhibited online. With very dry humor, winners will also get a 2-week food supply, including a Wings of Life Survival Pack, and Just in Case Kit.

Another opportunity worth checking out: The Walton Family Foundation is looking to fund projects that fit into its plan to “elevate the quality of architectural and landscape design in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties.” The foundation will fund landscape designs by local governments, including school districts, and non-profits. In 2014, the foundation provided more than $40 million in support. For this year’s round of local investments, planner Victor Dover and University of Virginia landscape architecture professor Elizabeth Meyer, FASLA, are among the judges. Landscape architects should submit design proposals by September 16.

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