Jesse Cabildo age: 22
Rana Ahmadi age: 30
Eric Arm age: 36
Adviser: Peter Arnold

With climate change and drought posing increasing hardships for rural farming communities in the American Southwest, a trio of undergraduate students at Woodbury University’s Arid Lands Institute used a studio project to explore how Dixon, N.M., could better manage decreasing water levels from snowpack and increasing seasonal flash flooding. The students envisioned re-contouring the landscape using inexpensive, locally sourced materials to help with flood control, septic treatment, irrigation for farming, and aquifer replenishment. Small seed ditches would help prevent erosion; diversion dams would help control flood waters.

“I believe that solutions to the problems facing the arid West will require a high degree of community involvement coupled with a high degree of interdisciplinary cooperation from architects, engineers, scientists, and farmers. That said, I feel that architecture, as a material interface between user and environment, has the greatest potential to reconnect people to their surroundings through ecologically sensitive, responsive, and communicative design.” —Eric Arm

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