Learning in Leh

Day 7: Harvest Mapping

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A harvest map is an ethical enterprise method of achieving sustainable construction. By mapping and researching the area surrounding a proposed building site or development a harvest map can identify potential resources, materials plus skills and knowledge that can be used to inform how a building project is designed and constructed. It has the potential to be a catalyst upon which future building projects or enterprises emerge.

Harvest Map – School Compound
Harvest Map – Leh Town

“We searched for building resources and tools in Leh town. We noticed that the majority of suppliers/traders and workshops were based in the south of the city from Moti Bazaar (market) to the main busy stand. Shops full the brim with fabrics, foam and army surplus, parachutes and tools.   A wide range of building materials sourced locally in Ladakh, and around Jammu and Kashmir, including glass and wood were also available. Local craftsmen carving and joining kindly donated wood shavings and gave us prices for their items. Local tradespeople were keen to sell us wire mesh and yak wool. The local area is full of resources and exciting materials for immediate use and showing plenty of options for future work and design.” – Nousheen Rehman

Harvest Map – Outside of Leh Town

“Our group went furthest afield to find material resources in the villages outside of Leh. We discovered non-Ladakhi labourers as whole families (mostly from Nepal) hand-manufacturing mud-brick after mud-brick, ready to sell and deliver. Delivery costs added a substantial amount to buying.

To test the quality we placed a brick on top of two more – an inch on either side and jumped on it. We also dropped it from 1m onto soft-ish ground. The brick was solid! The labourers were confident and one man began throwing the brick in the air just to show off a little.

In the same area, we also found some local Ladakhis who had grown their own poplar. Their home was made from materials found close-by – but these were not all for sale.

Another main resource we came across was a scrap yard full of old army gear and various cans and bottles. There were hundreds of old army boots, tyres, old bukhari burners and more, triggering some exciting ideas for the school grounds.”Mena Shah


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