University of Oregon

Bioregional Community Development in Ecuador

Program Overview

Ecuador provides an ideal setting for exploring issues related to sustainable development. The course will examine the tensions, challenges, and possibilities for reconciling development and conservation in the dry tropical forest zone, a critically important and globally imperiled ecosystem. Course activities center in and near the city of Bahía de Caráquez, which has attempted to rethink its development trajectory after a series of environmental disasters in 1998 that exposed the human toll of unsustainable development practices. You will work closely with staff from Planet Drum Foundation, a San Francisco-based NGO with a long-term presence in Bahía de Caráquez, engaging in service learning through field excursions, discussions with locals, and participation in native forest revegetation projects.

Academic Details

Bioregional Community Development in Ecuador (University of Oregon PPPM 488/588). If you are an undergraduate or graduate student associated with the fields of planning, public policy, environmental studies, landscape architecture, architecture, anthropology, ethnic studies, cultural studies, sociology, political science, or Latin American studies, you will find this program particularly relevant. The program is open to students of all majors and also to students who hold an undergraduate degree but are not currently enrolled in a degree program. Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.
The course will introduce students to the concepts and practice of bioregional development by analyzing the dynamics and influences of multiple scales: the community, the bioregion, the country, and the globe. Given its past developmental history, its status as a major ecotourism and transnational amenity migration destination, and its recent adoption of a constitution that articulates the notion of “buen vivir” as an alternative to prevailing developmentalist paradigms, Ecuador embodies many of the pressing issues regarding conservation and development. Bahía de Caráquez is a particularly fitting community to study because it designated itself as an Ecocity in 1999 and has since made strides to model more sustainable modes of planning and development. Both the community and Ecuador as a whole have struggled to reconcile these ecological ideals with the pressures of a global economy that remains dominated by narrow goals of economic growth.
Although this program is taught entirely in English, students with some knowledge of Spanish would benefit for better interaction with the local community.

Faculty and Staff

Jesse Abrams, research associate in the University of Oregon Institute for a Sustainable Environment, is the faculty director for the program. He will be joined by local officials and NGO representatives who will contribute to the field school experience.

Housing Description

You will be stay in a local hostel located in Bahía de Caráquez, with convenient access to public transportation. Breakfasts and most mid-day and evening meals will be provided during the program. The program includes multiple excursions to other locations in the dry tropical forest ecosystem, including some overnight stays outside of Bahía de Caráquez.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearPriority DeadlineFinal DeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Summer20172/15/20173/15/2017Mid-JulyEarly August

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.