Karen M'Closkey and Keith VanDerSys' practice, PEG office of landsacape + architecture recently received a 2020 ASLA Analysis and Planning Honor Award for its ongoing work in the Galápagos Islands. The project was one of 31 Professional Award winners chosen from 567 submissions.
The Galápagos archipelago is one of the most important conservation sites in the world. 97% of its land is protected in the National Park and 95% of its native biodiversity is intact. However, the Galápagos is not just home to giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies - a rapidly growing population of ~34,000 people are concentrated on four of its thirteen islands.
M'Closkey and VanDerSys' work on San Cristóbal Island focuses predominantly on Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a town of 9,000 residents. San Cristóbal is the only island with a fresh water source. At recent growth rates of over 6%/ year, compared to 2% on the mainland, San Cristóbal’s population will double in just over ten years, and could fill its urban boundary in 15-20 years. This would both threaten the ecological resources it relies upon while locating residents in precariously low-lying, flood prone locations. With little urban planning, San Cristóbal lacks a strategy for protecting its most vital resources: water. Their project addresses this gap through three strategic and ongoing parts: urban growth; topographic mapping; and water sampling.