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Bolivia, Destinations, Landscape Architecture, Musings

Workway Bolivia: Landscape Architecture for Room & Board

February 14, 2012

Through connecting with a welcoming Workaway host family, we spent a little over a week living in Jupapina, Bolivia (about thirty minutes outside La Paz), earning room and board in exchange for flexing muscles of body and mind.

During our all-too-short time in Bolivia, we’ve been witness to unsettling destruction of natural resources: homes perched on unstable ground, bulldozers wreaking havoc on naturally stable terrain, and creation of geological chaos in the name of development.

What a treat to meet this inspiring family and engage in finding land management solutions.

Emma and Rolando with their charming kiddos: Bell and David…

Our hosts, Emma and Rolando, have dedicated their family and careers to bettering Bolivia. Emma relocated from England after spending time with international development agencies working in South America and Africa and is now involved in projects providing activities, meals, and education for children of working class parents unable to afford daycare and in community development projects benefitting indigenous people groups. Rolando ran against the political shoe-ins and won as an independent candidate for Mayor of nearby Mallasa, enacting many land preservation measures, developing public recreation lands, introducing art into public works projects, and advocating for the needs of the people, and later he was appointed and served as head of Social Services for all of La Paz.

Site: The Mendoza-Donlan Residence in Jupapina, BoliviaThe sky isn’t Photoshopped and the house really is that brilliant color. Light is amazing in Bolivia.

Emma and Rolando built their home four years ago in the beautiful Bolivian countryside, but their neighbors’ poor land management left them with an incredibly unstable property adjacent to their own. Their offer to purchase the land was accepted, and they’ve been working for the past few seasons to mitigate the damages and have plans to eventually develop the site as a tent and yurt campground serving La Paz.

As a landscape architect, I offered my skills to help with site master planning and Ted and I are both aided in filling holes, planting trees, cleaning out sand traps, and generally leaving the {future} campsite cleaner than we found it.

In one week’s time, we held client design meetings, worked out existing conditions and site analysis, spent time on concept and schematic designs, and reviewed design development options before committing to the final master plan. Continue Reading…