ali chen battles california drought with grassroots cactivism ali chen battles california drought with grassroots cactivism
sep 22, 2015

ali chen battles california drought with grassroots cactivism

ali chen battles california drought with grassroots cactivism
all visuals courtesy of ali chen

 

 

 

as california prepares itself for another year in drought conditions american and international professionals — of all sectors — continue their efforts to end the water crisis. online publication archinect recently held ‘dry futures’, a competition that casts architecture as a primary role in creating water-use infrastructure. the contest was split into two categories, speculative and pragmatic, the former of which was won by ali chen for her project, ‘grassroots cactivism’.

ali chen caliornia drought grassroots cactivism designboom
california cactus farm and wastewater purification plant 

 

 

 

current california legislation requires individual households to reduce water use by 25%. while it has helped, agricultural production — responsible for 80% of statewide water consumption — isn’t included within the restrictions. a major portion of the high amount goes directly towards crops that feed livestock, which in itself is another massive weight on domestic water supplies.

alichendesignboom01
the farm with also function as an eco-resort

 

 

 

chen’s proposal reframes the situation to reach beyond the individual, and focuses on creating a higher level of organization and direction moving forward. ‘grassroots cactivism’ utilizes the nopales cactus, a drought tolerant plant that’s fit for both human and animal consumption, and remarkably, is able to effectively clean polluted water. of the plant, the cacti mucilage — or inner pulp — can be adapted to improve and revolutionize existing wastewater management systems.

ali chen caliornia drought grassroots cactivism designboom
water purification pools 

 

 

 

that’s not to say the rest of the plant won’t serve a purpose. the total crop with be further subdivided into two other portions; one for harvesting and distribution for human consumption, and the other for hand-processing into fodder for U.S. exporting. the hybrid farm also aims to function as an eco-resort. various activities such as cooking workshops, fine dining, a water museum, and other holiday amenities are included. this secondary function allows for cactus to be marketed as a staple of contemporary life and cuisine, raise water use awareness, provide funding for research, and increase demand for a crop that could potentially replace other water intense forms of vegetation and fodder. 


‘grassroots cactivism’ program descriptions

ali chen caliornia drought grassroots cactivism designboom
program map

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: nick brink | designboom

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    architecture news