Sustainable Development Goals & Climate Resilient Strategies, Wayanad, India - Design Research Pilot Project Report

This project is a design and policy research initiative housed at the Forum for Law, Environment, Development and Governance (FLEDGE),  with the DEL Laboratory (Srishti) as a key studio partner. The project brings new approaches and methods to record, synthesize and communicate local climate resilient strategies in order to impact local policy design.

Ground collaborators include the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation – CABC and the District Administration of Wayanad.

As part of the Climate Resilience component of the project, the team focussed on documenting places, people and practices, in creative and constructive ways in order to uncover and understand local practices that are ‘sustainable’, and dependent on rain, treating rain as a resident rather than a visitor.

The anchors for the studio were water and paddy cultivation. The methodology of the studio was to combine a landscape approach with grounded theory to engage in the field, through the lens of seepage (Cons, 2017).

The hope is that the report, particularly in light of recent dramatic changes/deluges in the landscape (August 2018 and 2019), will offer new ways of understanding the monsoon terrain of Wayanad towards greater climate resilience and community adaptive capacities.

The report demonstrates that local knowledge of the weather and other dynamism of natural processes is important in light of the current climate crisis, as well as rethinking/questioning the way development is planned and designed (usually to keep water out).

The project continues into post-disaster documentation of resilient community strategies in Pozhudana Panchayat, as well as writing SDGs from the ground, up (rather than imposing top-down universal policy goals).

Deepta Sateesh, Akriti Srivastava, Falguni Gupta