The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Award for PhD research on indigenous resistance to resource exploitation in Chile

27 October 2014

'Workshop' - Cristian Olmos research in Chile

Cristian Olmos has received a prize in appreciation of his work on indigenous communities in the Atacama Desert, Chile. The award was made by the Faculty of Architecture of the Istanbul Technical University, Turkey for his paper on “Re-assessing vernacular architecture: theories and practices traditions, identities and globalization” presented at the 7th International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements (ISVS-7).

The aims of this conference were to bring together scholars to discuss and re-assess the role of vernacular traditions on contemporary architecture in the current wave of globalization.

Cristian received this distinction for his research on the use of ancestral techniques of construction as a way of understanding the tension in the production and conceptualization of the territory. His PhD research focuses on the resistance of indigenous communities to the neo-liberal exploitation of resources in the Atacama Desert, Chile. More specifically it looks at mining policies that lead to an uneven implementation of the right to the water. The project aims to find out if there is a way to diversify claims in the territory, which means that not only mining and economic demands are recognized, but also those expressed by communities.

The conference committee particularly appreciated the theoretical discussion on territory and its application within the context of Andean communities, which highlights the innovative and challenging angle of the research project.

Above: Cristian at the 7th International Seminar on Vernacular Settlements after receiving the award.

Cristian's PhD is supervised by Dr. Alexandre Apsan Frediani (Co-Director of MSc Social Development Practice) and Dr. Caroline Newton (Co-Director of MSc Building and Urban Design in Development), who along with Dr. Colin Marx (Director of MPhil/PhD Programme) provided valuable guidance for this publication.

Cristian’s work will be published in the ISVS e-Journal, which is the official journal of the International Society for the Study of Vernacular Settlements and it has been included in the Conference Proceedings of the 7th International Seminar on Vernacular Settlement, 2014.

Visit the DPU PhD programme pages and read more about our PhD candidates and their research topics.