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 focuses on fieldwork including participation in daily routines that aim to create a better understanding of local issues particularly across Exuma and more generally across The Bahamas. The second year of the project will focus on proposal making, while the third year will focus 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: Island Geology and Ecologies; Economy; Waste; Energy; Food; Water and Climate Factors; Existing Development Frameworks and Land-Use Guidelines. The project also identifies a series of case studies on ecology-based island settlements around the world which offer potential lessons for the future of Exuma.


The educational component is divided into six main parts. The first section includes Conferences, Forums, and Workshops, such as the events held in Nassau in 2011 and 2013. Executive Education includes courses that will be offered in The Bahamas annually, as well as selected openings for Bahamians to take part in the various programmes at the GSD in Cambridge, MA. In addition to Scholarships for Bahamians to take part in any of the degree programmes at the GSD there is also a 6-week summer Career Discovery Programme. Harvard faculty will be 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.


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

T 617 496 4500