Figuig is a Moroccan oasis town located on the edge of the Sahara desert. As a centuries old town, Figuig now faces an important dilemma: how to adapt the oasis to the consequences of climate change while preserving its ancestral palm grove and irrigation system?
From May 30 to June 5, 2022, five students in Landscape Architecture got the opportunity to explore responses to that dilemma. Through site visits, exchanges with the inhabitants, and creative brainstorming with Moroccan and foreign students and local experts, the students elaborated sustainable design strategies to improve the town’s micro-climate and the oasis’s sophisticated water system.
During this experience, the students were able to implement their knowledge while immersing themselves in a totally new geographical and cultural context. “During my studies in Wageningen, I have explored the field of climate responsive design, but in the northwest European context. Therefore, seeing, experiencing and investigating the liveability of urban forms in an arid environment was a very interesting and valuable experience to broaden my horizon”, says Pasha Vredenbregt, a student in the 2th year of the MSc in Landscape Architecture.
This project is an effort to internationalize our education and research program, says Dr. Christian Nolf, new assistant professor of landscape architecture at Wageningen. Due to its location, Figuig foreshadows the extreme conditions that many cities will experience in coming decades. The results of this workshop, which will be disseminated in several publications, demonstrate the catalytic role of landscape architecture to conceive with local users adaptive responses to climate change.