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Tami Banh / Mekong Delta Stories

Fri, Mar 1, 2019    3pm

The history of the Mekong Delta is a history of shifting power relations. The Delta has not only witnessed the rise and fall of no less than five political regimes since the beginning of its recorded history, it has also played a critical role in these upheavals. In the past three hundred years, various competing powers have transformed the River and its Delta through ambitious hydraulic engineering projects as parts of their nation-building campaigns.

My research traces this history of intensive landscape transformation and explores how maps instigated this process, and consequently, restructured the region’s social landscape. This talk first guides you through four narratives about the Delta’s natures that were constructed by maps in conjunction with other modes of representations. I argue that these narratives facilitate, justify, and constitute the pretexts for the continuous reshaping of the territory.

In the second part of the discussion, I present a summary of my GSD Landscape Architecture Thesis, which explores a new mode of water resource management through the redesigning of the Mekong River Commission. Sited in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, the project reimagines the Commission’s form and operational structure as well as its effects on the Delta’s physical landscape.

Tami received her Master in Architecture and Master in Landscape Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University and her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California.