‘Way Beyond Bigness’ is a design-research project that studies the Mekong, Mississippi and Rhine river basins, with particular focus on multi-scaled, water-based infrastructural transformation. The book proposes a simple, adaptive framework that utilizes a three-part, integrative design-research methodology, structured as: Appreciate + Analyze, Speculate + Synthesize, and Collaborate + Catalyze. To do such, ‘Way Beyond Bigness’ realigns watersheds and architecture across multiple scales (sites to river basins), disciplines (ecologists to economists), narratives (hyperboles to pragmatics), and venues (academics to professionals), defined as Watershed Architecture. The research critiques and recasts Oxford Dictionary’s two very different definitions for a “watershed”: 1) “An area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas" and 2) “An event or period marking a turning point in a situation in a course of action or state of affairs” and its two very different definitions for “architecture”: 1) “The art or practice of designing and constructing buildings” and 2) “the complex or carefully designed structure of something.” The book highlights the author’s comprehensive work of over more than a decade, including in depth field research across the Mekong, Mississippi and Rhine, along with a diverse body of academic and multi-disciplinary professional collaborations and contributions, ranging from the speculative to the community-based.
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