Erosion Urbanism proposes an alternative urban planning to grow the atoll islands of Kiribati, which are threatened by current climate pressures.






129 thousand people


The masterplan for Kiribati presents a comprehensive strategy tackling the nation's challenges by empowering the local economy through indigenous techniques and materials ingrained in the atolls' natural cycles. To counter global isolation's impact on communication and technology access, the approach emphasizes preserving local identity and culture, crucial for informing foreign investments. "Erosion Based Urbanism" focuses on empowering atoll communities against climate concerns and erosion of both, its geography and cultural identity due to generic interventions.

With the goal of preserving and potentially expanding Kiribati's mainland, organic systems are proposed to replace ineffective hard interventions like sea walls. Techniques include electrochemical reef construction, growing autochthonous flora like mangroves and phytoplankton, and a strategic landscape intervention for erosion-trapping settlement. The plan strategically targets vulnerable areas, aiming to consolidate existing land and create new land in a soft-intervention manner. Electrochemical reef construction aims to regenerate coral reefs and increase available land, while mangrove integration offers organic walls adaptable to atoll dynamism. Proposed areas for phytoplankton growth contribute to the food chain and CO2 absorption, enhancing the ecosystem's sustainability.

Atoll Condition

Atolls are shaped by natural elements like magma, ocean currents, and the sun-driven growth of coral reefs. However, current global carbon emissions pose a threat by causing ocean acidification and coral bleaching, jeopardizing the structural integrity of these ecosystems. Atolls, hailed as natural treasures, have historically provided resources yet faced exploitation by Western nations, including the distressing history of nuclear testing rendering some uninhabitable. The modern challenge lies in reconciling the growing need for resources in a digital era while respecting the delicate balance of these environments. Foreign interventions often overlook the fragility of atolls, proposing unsuitable solutions, but the essay advocates for tailored interventions to address issues like sea-level rise and global warming without imposing generic solutions onto these unique regions.

Colonial heritage

The Pacific region, shaped by British and French colonial legacies, includes islands scarred by atomic tests and resource exploitation, resulting in environmental risks from buried nuclear waste. Kiribati, molded by colonial history that introduced currency, faces economic challenges like low GDP and high unemployment, predominantly reliant on service and agriculture. However, these formal economic measures overlook "informal" economies, leaving a gap in understanding the Pacific nations' true economic status.

Kiribati heavily imports food and machinery, contrasting with its fish and coconut exports, emphasizing the need to protect its fisheries amid rising global demand. The impact of imported systems on Kiribati profoundly influences its socio-economic framework, highlighting the necessity of comprehensively analyzing every detail's effect on this small nation.

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