Resilient Island Initiative Galapagos Islands


The RESILIENT ISLANDS INITIATIVE is a bold project to establish environmental steward centres in 20 islands around the globe. Launched in 2012 by Architecture for Humanity, CLEAR VILLAGE and Ocean Voyages Institute, the RESILIENT ISLANDS INITIATIVE aims to help some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems face the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.

The first project of the initiative has now kicked off: #1 Galápagos. The project started when the New Era Galápagos Foundation reached out to Architecture for Humanity to co-develop a community centre in San Cristóbal, the political capital and the second-largest community in the Galápagos archipelago. CLEAR VILLAGE and Ocean Voyages Institute were brought into the project and the vision emerged of a low-cost community centre to develop resilience and conservation on 3 levels:

+ Helping local people to learn about their ecosystem and become the environmental stewards of the future.
+ Building up a local knowledge base of the most critical environmental challenges and how to address them.
+ Establishing a location for community members to learn about the local ecosystem and how to minimize their impact.

To develop an initial design, Nathaniel Corum from Architecture for Humanity and Thomas Ermacora from CLEAR VILLAGE facilitated a masterclass in January 2013 at ESARQ UIC, the School of Architecture of the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. Students engaged with the real-life challenge of designing a community centre in San Cristóbal as requested by the New Era Galápagos Foundation. The proposals that were developed have been incorporated into an on-going charrette process with local residents and staff of the New Era Galápagos Foundation.

When completed, the Galápagos centre aims to provide a compelling proof of concept of the wider RESILIENT ISLANDS INITIATIVE and to serve as a prototype for the other environmental stewardship centres that will be established. Though each project within the RESILIENT ISLANDS INITIATIVE will be tailored to the specific needs of the location and local partners, the goals will be the same:

+ To build a community centre in partnership with a local organisation in a collaborative and replicable process.
+ To develop a multi-generational curriculum for environmental learning and leadership.
+ To provide bioregional planning expertise through the centres’ partners to tackle systemic development issues on a larger scale.

As Nathaniel Corum put it: “if we’re going to succeed vs the massive forces facing us, islands are both the place to start and the place to win.”