LEC Seminar: 'Towards a Sustainable Future for Santa Cruz, Bolivia: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach'

Wednesday 17 July 2019, 1:00pm to 2:00pm


Training Rooms 1 & 2, Gordon Manley Building, LEC Blue Zone (LEC 3), Lancaster University - View Map

Open to

External Organisations, Postgraduates, Staff, Undergraduates


Registration not required - just turn up

Event Details

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, is one of the fastest growing cities on Earth. This seminar will explore the dilemmas and possibilities for a more sustainable future for the city, and ask how the environmental and social sciences might be woven with design and planning to affect positive change.

This seminar will discuss the dilemmas and possibilities for a more sustainable urban future for Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. In particular it will address two principal concerns: the general lack of global awareness of pernicious, unscrupulous development on the region’s key environmental assets; and the Bolivian academy’s lack of research culture that weakens the evaluation, modelling and forecasting of different land development and management scenarios. With regard the latter, the seminar will provide a forum to discuss the best practices of bringing together speculative architectural work with the empirical and quantitative methods of environmental and social sciences in order to provide convincing scenarios for more considered urban development.

Santa Cruz is one of the 15 fastest growing cities on Earth, having grown from a small town of 50,000 in 1950 to a sprawling metropolis of over 3 million inhabitants today. However, this growth has occurred with little thought to environmental and societal risk, with development in the city itself exhibiting worrying characteristics such as poorly planned and executed drainage infrastructure; habitat fragmentation; low building and construction standards; insufficient protection of the River Pirai corridor; little public buy-in or transparency; and the perpetuation of inequitable living standards for large swathes of the populous. As is most-often the case, environmental degradation and societal ills are inextricably intertwined. Beyond the city itself, out-lying municipalities have adopted various stances to population and development pressures, from the short-term and opportunistic, to a more considered and planned approach. At the same time, Santa Cruz and its neighboring municipalities have been identified as occupying a key location with regard to continental and global commerce by key strategic development and investment bodies such as CAF (the development bank of Latin America) and FONPLATA: specifically, transcontinental freight and an international air-hub. In short – there is little chance that growth will abate any time soon, but there is currently little consensus on how it should occur.

Speaker Dr Carl Smith is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas USA. Carl has a Bachelor of Science with honors in environmental science from Lancaster University and a Master’s degree in landscape architecture and a doctorate in sustainable housing design from the University of Sheffield. He also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Urban Design from the University of Newcastle. Carl is a Royal Chartered Landscape Architect and has practiced landscape and urban design throughout the UK and US. His primary research focuses on the implementation of sustainable design and development, with a particular focus on housing environments, density issues and perceptions of landscape change. Carl has been widely published in journals such as Landscape Research Record; the Journal Of Urbanism; Journal of Urban Design; and the International Journal of Art and Design Education. He is first author of the book Sustainable Residential Landscapes (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007), and is currently editing a book on international perspectives on sustainable residential landscapes. Carl has delivered lectures on sustainable housing issues in Europe, South America and the USA to bodies such as The British Landscape Institute, The American Society of Landscape Architects, The American Planning Association, The International Federation of Landscape Architects and The European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools.

All students, staff and colleagues are encouraged to attend.

Join the conversation #LECSeminar!

During his visit Dr Carl Smith is very keen to meet with any researchers interested in the latest methods and approaches that environmental or social scholars might use, to evaluate pre-and-post conditions before and after the implementation of low cost, temporary and public-built landscape interventions. If you would like to arrange a meeting please contact him directly.


Dr Carl Smith

Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design

Contact Details

Name Dr Carl Smith, University of Arkansas