The Honduran Production Valleys


This work initiated from a project worked on in conjunction with the PBL, the environmental agency of the Netherlands. The project researches the implementation of the landscape approach for reaching the new framework of sustainable development goals. The landscape approach uses integrated landscape management (ILM) in attempt to achieve these SDG’s.

The landscape researched was the Northern Coastline of Honduras, which faced challenging land use issues by numerous actors, both locally and globally and in particular faced agricultural monopolisation in Palm Oil agriculture.

This work has come as follow up to the research, resulting in a spatial landscape design. The project was a sustainable landscape plan to rebalance food production and the over production of palm oil in the northern coastline of Honduras.

This developed through a water system which collected water and better distributed it to individual farms. Also into a green system, which introduced more natural areas both for recreation and function, as pace for storm water collection. Also new land uses were introduced to stop the monopolisation of the one economy of palm oil.


What prompted the project?

The work initiated from research I did with the PBL, the environmental agency of the Netherlands. I then took the research as basis for a landscape design project, to see how the research could be turned into a reality.

Much of my research worked with stakeholders in Honduras and I talked to many people in the area itself, as such it was important in how I represented the work, to show them, to truly speak of the place. In addition, as landscapes are becoming globalised and their futures a matter of global decisions, uniformity threatens our places. So place influenced both the design and drawings I created to depict it. Traditional paintings depicting the landscape have inspired my drawing of such, such as Alonso Flores ‘path to the river’, depicting traditional rural life in the area. Attached below.

What defined the language of representation of the project?

Initially in the project, images of interventions were shown to stakeholders of the project to discuss possibilities in the landscape. Using drawing to represent these possibilities was a very important tool. In addition, the final compositions try to show the link of the global to its local influence. My project tries to be the link between these scales, and the drawings were an important tool in seeing how the interventions sat on all levels. Both how they sat in the landscape, and connected to people on an individual level.

What tools did you use? How do you work between the realms of the digital and the analogue?

The compositions are made initially as basic collages through photoshop. The layers are a mixture of images from SketchUp, photographs, and digital painting in the program. I then printed these compositions, and with tracing paper, I worked over them in hand to create the smaller and final details. Then the images are bought together and finalised on photoshop. The mix of digital and analogue I think speak well in these images, as the design tries to speak of the link between modern and traditional, using new interventions to bring back the traditional connection of the people with their landscape.

How important is the element of narrative for the architect?

I wanted these images to tell a narrative much like the traditional paintings of the landscape. I wanted the narrative of the images to help connect the people to their landscape again, a landscape which is slowly being lost to them through privatisation of the land for palm oil production. The images show try to show the concept of the project, capturing both tradition and invention, colloquial and academic, whilst showing link of the global to its local influence.