ISSUE #4 FOREST, AUTUMN 2014
SKETCHBOOK
Erbil Rural Peripheries

A ring of plants, water, and villages

I made these sketches during a series of site visits for the Erbil Inner Greenbelt project in April and May 2009. I served as landscape planning consultant to Khatib and Alami, project lead consultants. The greenbelt project would serve as a shelterbelt and amenity landscape for the city. Our task was to develop the vision and master plan for the greenbelt. The project site is circular, a ring of approximately 200 kilometers, a diverse, hilly landscape crisscrossed by streams and dry seasonal watercourses embracing villages, orchards, agricultural fields and pastoral lands.           

I drew the sketches in pencil very quickly, made notes and watercolored them later. Sketching is my way of understanding the landscape, appreciating the shapes and colors, saving the image in my memory to recall later. A green blanket covers the entire landscape, meadows speckled with vivid red and yellow wild flowers. In a month, the green will disappear, replaced by a dusty colored landscape. Women in the fields and girls in the villages greet the spring with the bright colored traditional Kurdish clothes. Men in shalwar trousers, wide sashes and skullcaps drive tractors, tend to irrigation canals and walk the herds of sheep to fatten them on lush spring vegetation.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Jala Makhzoumi is an architect, ecological landscape design consultant, academic, and author who practices in the Middle East.
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