The intend of this thesis was always to design landscape restoring and enriching livelihoods in void landscapes - as a strategy against
the ‘common’ type of livelihoods that only extract from rich landscape in order to exist.
The result is an explorative vision of desert-greening societies in the Sahel. These active and resilient livelihoods fix carbon (especially
in the soil), bring ecosystem services, promote new viable enterprises, create employment, and meanwhile reduce conflicts. They do so
by countering the environmental and social hurdles (drought, flooding, terrorism, a.o.) and seizing the regional opportunities (sunlight,
space, mineral resources, a.o.) - a vernacular approach.
The designed landscape pattern was inspired by Sahelian textiles and developed functionalistically. It had to be in essence a watercollective
design - counterbalancing the drought-flooding paradox by slowing down, redirecting, harvesting, storing and re-using
rainwater regionally. The design came to exist out of three main landscape components: the water-harvesting landscape pattern
and town’s system and the aquifer-replenishing crater. The latter is a former open mining pit - its terraced shape perfectly in line
with the greening strategies and its low-laying bottom an excellent regional ‘sink’ where overflows are lead towards. There, excess
water is injected into the underground aquifers - replenishing the deep groundwater resources for the entire region. Thereby it
not only improves the landscape conditions for plant growth, but it also preserves existing cultures and communities who rely on
the groundwater resource and extract from it irresponsibly. Thus, the feared mining boom is turned into a spread of groundwaterreplenishing,
existing culture-preserving, attractive ‘hanging’ oases in the future.
The towns themselves are designed as fortified (anti-terrorism) circular systems that collect the annual monsoon rains from the
regional water-harvesting patterns, filter it and put it to use and re-use for the town inhabitants. The losses are minimized and refilled
during the next rainy season, so that at some point (after several years depending on the expansion of the landscape pattern), the
closed system’s water reservoir is completely filled with an optimal amount of water to be put to use for the landscaping/greening
phenomenon and its maintenance.