Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism


In her book “Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism” designer and activist Julia Watson urges us to use millennia-old knowledge to build a world in symbiosis with nature.

As the world faces unprecedented environmental crisis, those who shape our cities are having to implement new, innovative, sustainable approaches. But what if the forward-thinking solutions we need lie not in new technologies, but in a symbiotic relationship with nature—a relationship that has been modeled by indigenous communities around the world for millennia?

“Lo–TEK is innovation born of humans living in symbiosis with natural systems,” says Watson. “We commonly think of sustainability as bringing plants and trees onto buildings, but what if our most sustainable innovations were rooted in cultures who figured it out a millennia ago? There are hundreds of nature-based technologies that have been constructed by indigenous cultures across the globe that need to be considered as potential climate-resilient infrastructures. It is possible to weave ancient knowledge on how to live symbiotically with nature into how we shape the cities of the future before this wisdom is lost forever.”

Below are four case studies from the book—from living bridges to artificial islands—that showcase innovative indigenous approaches and how these can be applied to the challenges faced today.

01 – Jingkieng Dieng Jri Living Root Bridges – Northern India
02 – Kihamba Forest Gardens – Tanzania
03 – Waffle Gardens – Western New Mexico
04 – Totora Reed Floating Islands – border of Bolivia and Peru

Read complete article in on-line Dwell magazine

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