Ashley Scott Kelly

The Road to Dawei
Environmental governance and advocacy planning in southern Myanmar, 2015-17

"The Road to Dawei" is an advocacy infrastructure planning project that addresses development impacts via environmental policy and physical implementation scenario-building. The simultaneously planned and under construction Dawei-Kanchanaburi Road Link connects Dawei, Myanmar to Bangkok across critical forest habitat and a culturally rich landscape just emerging from ethnic civil war into a new industrial and agricultural development paradigm. Weak environmental and development regulation requires multi-pronged approaches. Our planning project consists of three components: Promoting ecosystem services along the road; strategies for locating points of critical wildlife connectivity where data is scarce; and promoting sustainable road construction technologies. All three comprise a transcalar approach, from construction details to specific site strategies, landscape and transboundary planning. The landscape design team included policy specialists, ecologists, infrastructure planners, GIS specialists, and computer programmers to model scenarios and propose alternative construction practices to minimize environmental damage and fragmentation of critical wildlife corridors. The work is used to build institutional capacity and regional and national levels of government, the road builder, and civil society groups.

Online: Design for Conservation

The South America Project
Infrastructure and Protected Areas in the Peruvian Amazon, 2011-14

"Myths" of conservation, such as population and poverty being drivers of deforestation or biodiversity as objectively scientific, frequently decouple the global-regional from the local specifics of place. The Initiative for Integration of Regional Infrastructure, or IIRSA, is a continental multilateral mechanism financing connectively through some of the most remote areas of Latin America. Design here, through its physical and social agency, involves constructing partial perspectives that bridge global conservation (e.g. man-and-the-biosphere reserves) with paradoxes of the highly physical territories of conservation movements and remote agricultural frontiers. Entrenched in the methods and instruments of conservation science, as well as geography and anthropology, this project momentarily problematizes definitions and classifications promulgated by the use of these tools across multiple disciplines and discourses. Through collaboration with three local NGOs, each regionally distinct and of divergent scales, capacities, and structure, the work makes tangible IIRSA's immense, yet indirect, relationship to deforestation and alters our perception of risk and stewardship of nature.

Exhibited: Kelly, A. S., & Pryor, M. R. (2013). Design for Conservation. Exhibited in South America Project: Works in Progress at the 14th International Buenos Aires Bienal of Architecture.

Presented: ESRI Geodesign Conference, Peking University; and Projects in Process Symposium at the 14th Annual Buenos Aires Architecture Bienal

Published: Kelly, A. S., & Pryor, M. R. (2013). Governing the road to China: Design, territory and data in the Peruvian Amazon. Landscape Architecture Frontiers, 1(6), 144-154.


Development and Conservation Awareness Map (DCAM)
Development and Conservation Awareness Map, 2015-16

The Development and Conservation Awareness Map (DCAM) is being piloted in Myanmar's Tanintharyi Region with civil society groups and international NGOs. The objective is to coordinate often contradictory knowledge of development projects, at any stage of planning and operation, impacting the region and to facilitate dialogue. This is paramount given the current climate of domestic and international investment in Tanintharyi, the complex state of dual-administration, the simultaneous presence of several international NGOs, the persistence of displaced persons and ethnic conflict, the drafting of new land use plans, forest laws, and impact requirements, and not least the region's critical ecological value. As new plans for projects are discovered or as existing projects change course, they can be added to the map via simple drawing tools, uploading, and commentary by the platform's diverse user groups.

Online: Development and Conservation Awareness Map

Counterpart Cities, PRD, China
Climate Change & Cooperative Action, 2011-12

Led by a curatorial team from the University of Hong Kong, the work suggests the collaboration of regional resources given impetus and/ or affected by climate change: Climate change as opportunity. Alongside wide-ranging research introducing the complexity of the region through the lens of major natural and man-made infrastructures, three design teams from Hong Kong and three from Shenzhen exhibit their visions for the regional cooperation of ports, freshwater delivery systems and cross-border ecologies.

Exhibited: 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/ Architecture; and Hong Kong Central Market Gallery


Hong Kong Topography
Hong Kong Ground, 2013-14

This map presents initial trials of methods that can enable designers parametric and categorical control over complex surfaces, point clouds, and heavy data, from site-scale manipulations to the projective visualization of entire territories and land mosaics. The test site is a 27-square-kilometer area of Hong Kong Island that contains a representative sample of the territory's "features," including forested mountainsides, cascading artificial slopes and superimposed public grounds. The model is 100% interpolated from spot elevations, non-urban contours, and two-dimensional feature data.

Presented: 11th Annual SmartGeometry Conference, held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2014

Launch interactive map:

Gateway NRA Revitalization
Mapping the Ecotone, 2007

This project creates a highly visible, experiential public infrastructure that responds to the shifting ecosystem of Jamaica Bay and defines a new vision of the relationship between nature and people. Though within New York City, it is a stretch to call this an urban park in the context of Manhattan. Gateway must be made more accessible in terms of its idea.

Awards: First Prize, Van Alen Institute's Envisioning Gateway, International Competition, New York (2007).

Published: Kelly, A.S., and Wakabayashi, R. (2011). Mapping the Ecotone. In A. Brash, J. Hand & K. Orff (Eds.), Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press.

Exhibited: Kelly, A. S., & Wakabayashi, R. (2013). Mapping the Ecotone. Exhibited at Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age. Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge.

Published: Kelly, A.S., Wakabayashi, R. (2007). Mapping the Ecotone. Landscape Architecture Journal, China 2007:6, 13-19.

Grand Army Plaza
Prospect on Structure, 2008

The call to reinvent the face of Prospect Park's 526 acres of forest, water and wetlands is to signal a new public attitude with the extension of the park's ecological systems and interface with the City, creating a multifaceted network of open space, transit and cultural exchange.

Awards: Honorable Mention, Design Trust for Public Space's Reinventing Grand Army Plaza, International Competition, New York (2008).

Exhibited: Kelly, A. S. (2008). Prospect on Structure. Exhibited at Design Trust for Public Space's Reinventing Grand Army Plaza, New York.

Published: Kelly, A.S. (2009). Prospect on Structure. In M. Canning (Ed.), Reinventing Grand Army Plaza: Visionary Designs for the Heart of Brooklyn. New York, NY: Design Trust for Public Space.

LeKinkeliba Foundation Senegal
Bamboo Growth Economy, 2009

Due to high seasonal climate variation and its influence on regional worker patterns, the project aims to stem rural-urban migration and the exodus of Senegalese youth to Europe through the teaching of dry-season agro-forestry techniques and economies. The growth of bamboo clumps within the colony, as well as the landscape of production and harvesting is adapted to passively provide shade and wind-break to buildings and people. Basic necessities of water, shade and shelter organize the colony into clusters not dissimilar from the traditional African village, while redefining its aesthetic character based on the means of felling, curing and drying of this native African species of bamboo.

Exhibited: Shown via at the 2010 Venice Biennale

Published: Selected for Harvard's StudioWorks 2010