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Clusters

Agriculture and Nutrition in the Arid Zones

Zone aride

CLUSTER(S)

zone aride

Arid Zones

Desert sandstorms provide the inspiration for the design of this Cluster, symbolizing the harshness of life in so-called Arid Zones, and the daily challenges facing the people who live there. Despite the hostile environment, however, vital resources are to be found.
 
The sandstorm is conjured by a multitude of slim, translucent cylinders suspended from the ceiling of the exhibition area, with the country pavilions having the appearance of rocks in this metaphorical wind-swept landscape.

VIRTUAL TOUR: EXPLORE THE ARID ZONES CLUSTER IN 3D
 
Life in the Desert: George Steinmetz
 
"I have spent most of my professional life exploring in the world’s extreme deserts, which contain the largest expanses of wilderness left on our planet. It took me fifteen years to document them all, in 27 countries plus Antarctica. While many people consider desert environments to be wastelands, I found them to be exquisitely beautiful environments that preserve an extraordinary record of time. I also became fascinated by the creative ways that both man and beast have found to eek out a living in such inhospitable environments. My study of deserts led me into flying the world’s lightest and slowest aircraft: a motorized paraglider, which I used to document these remote places. I found that often the aerial perspective is best to truly appreciate the scale and patterns of arid lands. From the above the forces that shape the desert are readily apparent to those who know how to read them: the direction of wind, the flow of ancient rivers, tracks of man and beast, and the forces of geology. I hope that through my work people can begin to appreciate the beauty of desert environments, which I hope can be preserved for future generations".
 
George Steinmetz
 

George Steinmetz

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Biography
 
George Steinmetz is regular contributor to "National Geographic" and "GEO Magazines". Born in Beverly Hills in 1957, Steinmetz graduated with a degree in Geophysics. He began his career in photography after hitchhiking through Africa for 28 months. His current passion is photographing the world’s deserts while piloting a motorized paraglider. This foot-launched aircraft enables him to fly low and slow to capture unique images impossible by traditional aircraft.  Since 1986, George has completed 27 major photo essays for National Geographic and 32 stories for GEO Magazines. George has won numerous awards for photography during his 30-year career, including two first prizes in Science and Technology from World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year, Overseas Press Club and Life Magazine’s Alfred Eisenstadt Awards. He has published three books, "African Air" about his 30 years of exploring Africa, "Empty Quarter", about the Arabian Desert, and his magnum opus, "Desert Air", an exhaustive study of all the world’s extreme deserts.  
DETAILS

EXHIBITION CONTENT: Politecnico, Milan, Italy
SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR: Luisa Collina
CONCEPT AND EXHIBITION LAYOUT: Michele Zini, Alessandro Biamonti,
Barbara Camocini
TOTAL AREA: 4,030 sqm
EXHIBITION AREA: 1,250 sqm
COMMON AREA: 2,715 sqm
EVENTS AREA: 253 sqm
 
 
 
The Cluster structure

On entering this Cluster, visitors encounter a water fountain that conveys the image of a natural oasis in an arid landscape. In this area, visitors are also provided with information, via presentations and performances that highlight the challenges, and resources, typical of these arid environments.
 
At the end of their tour of the Cluster, visitors will have the opportunity to sample and purchase some of the fruits and other products that thrive in these parts of the world.
 
Water-starved

The word “arid” immediately conjures images of dry, desert lands, hostile environments that offer little chance for life, of any kind, to take root and to thrive.
 
However, while the assumption might be that all arid zones are the same, they are, in fact, often quite different from one another. Soil types, flora and fauna, water balance, as well as levels of human activity, vary. It is also a common misconception that these arid places are uninhabited. Indeed, one-fifth of the world’s population lives in places severely lacking in water.
 
Given this diversity, it is clear that there is no one single definition of what an “arid” zone might be. Their common characteristic, of course, is dryness. This is measured by a correlation between temperature and rainfall, to create categories such as super-arid, arid, and semi-arid.
 
Various solutions have been suggested and used to maximize water resources in an integrated fashion, from rain-water harvesting to efforts to prevent evaporation. Many of the successful innovations in rain-fed agriculture have come about as a result of adapting established methods to local conditions. While replacing some outdated techniques has helped, success has proved greatest when traditional practices have been upgraded.
 
That said, the challenges faced by people living in places where water is lacking and climate change is impacting, need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, to ensure that people can enjoy a better quality of life in the future, which includes being able to source adequate food supplies.
 
COUNTRIES BELONGING TO THIS CLUSTER
 
 
 
Jordan
 
 
Mali
 
 
 
 
 
UN's presence in the Arid Zones Cluster
 
Drylands make up over 40% of the Earth’s land, cover more than 100 countries and are the basis  for livelihoods of more 2 billion people.  Starting with these figures, the UN Space in this Cluster presents the United Nations’ projects supporting the livelihoods of populations who live in these territories and the smallholder farmers that work there. 

The UN is present with 18 multimedia installations, easily recognizable by their giant blue spoons. These UN Spaces are located in various areas of the site along the itinerary dedicated to the theme “The Zero Hunger Challenge • United for a sustainable world”.

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