Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Spring 2016

Synthesis_Navama_1smallUTL logo2snavama – technology for nature supports students of Urban Theory Lab Research Practicum in: Operational Landscape of Planetary Urbanization  at Harvard University with AIS density maps to evaluate fishery intensity and urbanization in the Pacific area. The course is held by Prof. Dr. Neil Brenner, Urban Theory Lab Director.

“One of the only remaining ‘last frontiers’, the Pacific Ocean is a rare site in the 21st century still capable of supporting the exploration and appropriation of new territories and resources, what Jason Moore terms “cheap nature:” labor-power, food, energy, and raw materials. Despite historic notions of this extreme territory as a vast expanse of endless resource, the Pacific is in fact far from limitless. Analyzing the reorganization of the ocean as an operational landscape, we identify processes of neoliberal development and specifically, the exploitation of wild food-source by the commercial fishing industry driven by capitalist accumulation, commodification, and privatization. The investigation reveals the intensification and connectivities of the fishing industry to the agglomeration in relation to territorial rights and competitive access to open-seas, patterns of regional and international trade, and the role of states versus operations of transnational corporations to include considerations of labor and technology. The intensification of these practices demonstrates how commercial fishing has been rendered disassociated both with supply and demands of food systems, but also from the resource base, the marine biomass itself. Instead, fishing industries and the regulatory and governance frameworks within which they operate are dependent on achieving economies of scale to secure projected assurances to fish, synonymous with present and future profit. Furthermore, exploitative manipulation of these political and economic mechanisms are in fact jeopardizing access to and heath of wild fisheries with massive implications for the enduring stability of the Pacific Ocean as an enduring source of sustenance, livelihood, commerce, and culture.
Delineating the bounds of an increasingly limitless[ed] ocean, the result of this diminutive dynamic will result in overcapitalization that sinks profits to satisfy endless capital investment as all other marine social and ecological resources are inversely depleted. Investing more and more for less and less, shoring up profit margins on speculation and intensification until the system collapses, long after all the wild fish are gone – the ultimate exhaustion of cheap nature.” 1)

1) Renia Kagkou, Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Master in Design Studies, Urbanism Landscape and Ecology and Ashley Thompson, Master in Design Studies, Risk & Resilience applied AIS density maps to understand urbanization and fishery intensity better. The overall goal was to find additional parameters to visualize urbanization in a limited natural resource as the  LIMITLESS[ED] PACIFIC.

The AIS density maps where calculated within seeOcean by navama based on  AIS vessel position data from ORBCOMM satellites.