Altitudes
Selva Central | Peru

“Altitudes” is a rural strategy for the Selva Central region in Peru. The region is in a unique geographical condition, being simultaneously part of the Andes mountain range and also the Amazon river basin. The region is defined by the extensive production of coffee, around which the local economy is completely reliant. The urge for a spatial vision is enhanced by the changing climate: because of rising temperatures the agricultural landscape is a ‘migrating’ one. In-fact, producers are moving the coffee plantations uphill, whilst – in lower altitudes – former productive areas are rendered vacant and available for future scenarios. As coffee production is defined by specific geographical and environmental conditions, the study goes beyond the given site-boundaries and elaborates on a global condition: the condition of resource extraction.

 

The aim of ‘Altitudes’ is to reorganise a currently inefficient coffee production chain, demonstrating the touristic potential of the area, whilst creating the conditions for the region to move beyond the monoculture of coffee and its fragile single-commodity economy. The economy of coffee is extremely volatile – a condition evident in the annual glaring discontinuity of supply and demand – and this imbalance is heightened by the patterns of the changing climate.

 

 

The study aims to create the conditions for the region to move beyond the monoculture of coffee and its fragile single-commodity economy

 

The condition for a mix-polyculture can be created through enhancing the vertical economy of the “Selva”. Whilst the coffee shrubs are maintained as an undergrowth layer, new species can be introduced in order to increase the agro-diversity and expand agricultural export opportunities.

 

The coffee production chain and touristic accessibility is unfolded and re-organised. A new hierarchy is given to the distribution and processing infrastructure which is now defined in 3 steps: the producers, coffee collection facilities and the cooperatives. Furthermore, circularities are highlighted such as the production of energy from solid waste, new marketable by-products and compost to feed back to producers.