Semester of Graduation

Spring 2019


Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Document Type



Focused on current initiatives for climate resilience, this paper explores a culturally adaptive approach to participatory planning in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. It details key engagement components to accompany the use of Tangible Landscape, an interactive, data-driven modeling platform, in a series of workshops sponsored by the World Bank. Innovations like Tangible Landscape hold the potential to significantly increase stakeholders’ accessibility to scientific data and scenario models. To what extent do the specificity of place and culture determine the efficacy of these tools in democratizing decision-making?

This paper delves into Việt Nam’s socioeconomic development through Mekong agriculture, as well as its history of colonization, disempowerment, war, and perseverance, as background to the complex identity, political climate and mounting environmental precarity of the delta. Hydro-ecological issues and interventions are framed in a human context, informed by research on art, visual communication, and media strategies utilized by government, citizen, and international groups. With an awareness that current power structures and foreign aid/intervention complicate citizens’ perception of security and self-determination, the goal of proposing a combined technological and arts-based approach to participatory planning is to maximize the inclusion of those whose lives are most closely tied to the changing environment.

Committee Chair

Brendan Harmon