Project Outline

This multi-year ecological planning project is a collaboration among the Government of The Bahamas, the Bahamas National Trust, and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). The goal is to facilitate the design and management of a more sustainable future for the Exuma archipelago, and The Bahamas more generally.

The project has two parallel and mutually informing components: research and education. These components work to inform the development of proposals and interventions as well as the building of capabilities for local empowerment. An important part of the project are a series of Scholarships for the degree programmes as well as opportunities for Bahamians to engage in the summer Career Discovery Programme at the GSD. Furthermore, the project is integrated with the research and pedagogy of the GSD.

The project seeks to understand local issues through various forms of public engagement. Public forums, workshops, and conferences are part of the process, in addition to fieldwork that facilitates the connection of researchers with residents. The first year focused on fieldwork including participation in daily routines that created a better understanding of local issues particularly across Exuma and more generally across The Bahamas. The second year of the project focuses on proposal making, where we design and imagine projects that have the potential for a long-term spatial and economic impact, while the third year focuses on a plan for action and implementation.


The project's research branches into four main parts: Resource Management, Economic Development, Governance, and Sociocultural Issues.

These four components break into more specific subcomponents, including analysis of: Geology; Economy; Waste; Energy; Food; Water; Mobility; Tourism; Community; Routines; Visual Pollution; and Legal Frameworks. The project also identifies a series of case studies on ecology-based settlements around the world which offer potential lessons for the future of Exuma.


The educational component is divided into six main components, including Conferences, Forums, and Workshops. Each year of the three-year project, full Scholarships are offered for Bahamians to take part in any of the degree programmes at Harvard Graduate School of Design. There are also scholarships available for Bahamians to take part in a 6-week summer Career Discovery Programme. The GSD’s Executive Education programme includes courses that are offered in The Bahamas annually, focused on government officials and educators, as well as selected openings for Bahamians to take part in the various programmes at the GSD in Cambridge, MA. Harvard faculty are available for Educational Outreach in The Bahamas and will also offer a Course, Studio or Independent Studies at the GSD each year of the project.


         Principal Investigators
Mohsen Mostafavi is the Dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design.

Gareth Doherty is Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

         Research Associates
Jose Maria Ortiz Cotro MDes (Fieldwork, Research)
Robert Daurio MArch (Mapping, Design)
Fábio Duarte PhD (Planning, Management)

         Post-doctoral Fellow
Liat Racin

         Research Assistants
Dane Carlson
Miguel Lopez Melendez


Exuma Project
Harvard University
Graduate School of Design
48 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

T 617 496 4500


A Sustainable Future for the Exuma
Environmental Management, Design, and Planning
Grow Fruit Calendar, 2015

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A Sustainable Future for Exuma
Environmental Management, Design, and Planning
Engagement Report, February 2013

Download (18 MB)

A Sustainable Future for the Exumas
Environmental Management, Design, and Planning
Conference Report, July 2011

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