A condensed version of this article was published in The Role of the Humanities in Design Creativity. Lincoln: University of Lincoln, Great Britain, 2007.OUTREACH

Architecture as Heuristic Device

The ways in which architecture relates to the different fields of the humanities have been more extensively documented than the inverse process: the multiple possibilities that architectural thought in general, as well as architectural education in particular, can open up for teaching practices, research and creative genesis within the humanities. Among others, there are three particular skills architects acquire as part of their design education which are of interest to the latter: an ability to formulate a project at all levels (from its conceptual stages through the adaptations demanded by feasibility until the supervision of its actual making); a dynamic insight into spatial manifestations, which become legible through continuous research of alternative documentation strategies, as well as the application of diverse analytical, cartographic, and synthetic tools; and last but not least, an embedded habit of translating bi-dimensional representations (including text) into three-dimensional, tangible image and/or form -and vice versa.
What architecture can do for the humanities has been widely overlooked, and its potential contributions become apparent in urban studies and design. Probably no other field calls for more multi-disciplinary approaches and efforts than the latter. Unveiling the complexities of space necessarily leads to a deep involvement with environmental, social, economic, cultural, aesthetic, and other parameters, which become revealed in the processes of urban research, as the unuttered, yet imprinted scriptures of space are decoded.
In this essay, I would like to address the question of how architecture (understood in a broad sense to encompass landscape and urban design), and its rather specific pedagogy, can propel the humanities. Would it be possible to re-discover the latter through the filters implanted by the spatial and temporal mindset of design? In order to reach out to other fields, and illustrate how architectural thought and education can penetrate and refresh their methods, I will draw upon a particular case study of architectural research that was undertaken in a very specific situation, involving real people and real issues; and which led to unsuspected discoveries and outcomes.
From Environmental Tectonics to Territorial Planning
In the Spring of 2003, the university where I was teaching at the time, was commissioned by the local government of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands province, to build a satellite campus that could serve as community college for the local population and research centre for natural scientists from throughout the world. Four hectares of land were provided as a concession by the National Park to Universidad San Francisco de Quito with this purpose in mind. The questions raised by such a commitment were appalling. How should we build in a fragile ecosystem whose very existence is being threatened by human presence? Should we build there at all?
Venezuelan architect Mónica Ponce de León happened to be in Quito when the issue of the satellite campus was being discussed by faculty members in diverse departments. The main pressure of the debate fell upon architects: should the building be a removable tent supported by cables; or a demountable structure assembled with reusable components; or just a solid, inexpensive, more permanent building analogous to the existing and proliferating concrete structures? How should it touch the ground: at particular, condensed and punctual moments, or throughout a surface area? What kind of trace should a temporary building leave behind? Issues related to energy, water, land and infrastructure emerged as inextricably linked to tectonic concerns. It became apparent that the challenge called for a research studio geared towards investigating different ways of embodying architecture in such an atypical situation, in the midst of a unique, frail place.
Mónica proposed the local architecture school to undertake a joint, research based, design studio with Harvard University. Its main focus would be to develop alternative construction systems under the title “dis-assembly required” with “environmental tectonics” as the overarching objective. The studio was subtitled “Building the Unwanted” in an attempt to acknowledge simultaneously that, on the one hand, the best way to proceed in such a context would be not to build at all; and on the other, that the islands are the fastest growing province in Ecuador and its settlements shall continue to burgeon with or without the intervention of designers. The informal Modernity of Latin America (1), which deserves study in its own right, has propagated throughout coastal, Andean and Amazonian Ecuador, regardless of contextual differences, and was eventually transplanted to the islands, where CMU (concrete masonry units) are manufactured and concrete is poured as cities grow propelled by the economic prosperity wrought by the tourism, fishing, conservation, and other industries.


Figure 1: Above: One of five CMU (concrete masonry units) factories at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal Island. Below: Cerro Quemado (Burnt Hill) gravel quarry. Until banned, sand used to be extracted from the local beaches for construction purposes.
Photographs by Fernando Tirado

From the point of view of the conservation sector, cities pose one of the main threats to the ecology of the archipelago. Therefore, all but an insignificant fragment of the funds funnelled into this sector of the economy from diverse sources and donors has been invested in the improvement of urban conditions, under the premise that doing so would increase the magnetism of the islands as a migration node. This perception, which overlooks economic prosperity as the true catalyst for urban sprawl (not beautification nor urban regeneration) has delayed the urgent need to address the micro-urban network of the Galapagos as an urban ecosystem, capable of coexisting with its surrounding environment, rather than acting as a parasitical and undesirable presence.
Under these circumstances, to develop alternative and more sustainable construction systems and methods seemed the most realistic and desirable point of departure for a studio in which tectonic research would focus on the notion of dis-assembly and component re-use. A whole range of possibilities opened up in terms of the materials that could be used: natural and artificial; high-tech and low-tech; long-lasting or biodegradable/temporal; locally manufactured, imported or partially imported. Initially, students researched diverse building methods and the properties of different materials like wood, metals, plastics, rubbers and masonries. The life cycle of the building had to be taken into account by the students, for they needed to acknowledge weathering, as well as design the mark that, once removed, it would leave upon the ground of the park after 100 years. Architecture as geo-graphy became a theoretical imperative, for its presence had to weave into the existing scripture of an ever changing and incredibly potent landscape.

Figure 2: “Wood masonry system” developed by Julie Firkin, Harvard University, Spring 2003, with Professor Mónica Ponce de León.


Figure 3: “Demountable and telescoping system” developed by Michael Goorevich, Harvard University, Spring 2003, with Professor Mónica Ponce de León.

The studio’s concerns were primarily archi-tectonic. We had to work within a timeframe and with very specific academic objectives in mind. In the span of one semester, it was challenging enough for the students to develop alternative construction technologies and unfold their findings into a coherent spatial choreography, in tune with users and landscape. We drew heavily on the methods of industrial design and approached the formulation of architecture as one would that of a product. The students had to design a series of semi-industrial prototypes, taking into account that the system’s components had to be light as well as easily and efficiently packaged. Most construction materials need to be transported by boat or airplane to the archipelago, which increases the burden on building budgets. Labour is also more expensive, for living costs in the islands are higher than in the continent. So the prototype had to be easily reproducible, and designed to be mounted and demounted by unskilled labour, so as not to encourage further migration of construction workers to the Galápagos and decrease costs.

Local materials were taken into account. Lava rock outcrops that lie wasted in existing urban plots could be used for masonry walls rather than paved upon with cement as the groundwork for construction is laid out. Lava provides a great alternative to CMU. The wood of introduced species that compete with native and endemic plants and trees could very well serve to produce structural components, frames, planks, etc.; and if water resistant, it could be adapted for use in outdoor decks or communal, elevated pathways designed to counteract soil erosion. The mapping and inventorying capabilities of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) could serve to delineate desirable wood extraction surfaces and outline accessibility strategies. Some of the areas in the archipelago’s highlands, which have traditionally been used for agricultural purposes, could support regulated bamboo plantations or, more desirably so, plantations of endemic species whose properties make them suitable for construction and whose nature may be less competitive than bamboo.
It became apparent that architectural design in the Galapagos Islands calls for a deployment of territorial planning. This initial tectonic impulse inevitably branched out into a series of inquiries which pushed beyond any strictly defined borders for the field of architecture. Standing along disciplinary thresholds we realized that the architect´s ability to decode space and partially unveil the forces that construct its tangible and intangible manifestations renders our discipline into an invaluable heuristic tool for the humanities. Once transgressed, the borders collapse, and hybridized concepts such as “urban ecosystems,” “economic geographies,” “topographic architectures,” “landscape urbanisms,” “infrastructural urbanisms” or “infrastructural geographies” emerge throughout the field. Formerly perceived as opposite and even antagonistic, concepts drawn from the fractured shells of diverse disciplines fuse into new mutations, into inter-disciplinary zygotes. At these junctures lie the potential contributions of architecture to the construction of knowledge within the humanities, for the architect is left to wonder whether her/his task is to deal solely with the morphology of human settlements and the design of their projected, haptic manifestations, or whether it is possible to expand the functions of design to encompass a broader definition of settlement as a complex confederation or confrontation of diverse systems which interweave and disaggregate as multiple agents, with allied or conflicting interests, who often speak different languages (figuratively as well as literally) and filter the world through barely overlapping paradigms, struggle for the same sets of resources.


Figure 4: Generative mapping strategy and Infrastructural Architecture. Project designed by Santiago del Hierro, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Spring 2003, with Professors Diego Oleas and Ana María Durán Calisto. In Santiago’s proposal, the building is deployed as a mechanism capable of harnessing water from the ocean breeze. The architecture dynamically interacts with the environment without neglecting programmatic needs, aesthetics, topography and landscape.

Affording Remoteness:
Tourism, Real Estate and Urban Development in the Galapagos Islands

 

In August of 2004, a survey and mapping exercise was undertaken as a follow up to the environmental tectonics studio, and eventually became the embryo of the international competition “Galapagos – 0 Latitude: Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism,” launched by the XV Quito Architecture Biennale in 2006. This research made it apparent that the conflicting forces that build the new spatialities of the Galapagos Islands can be boiled down to the vectors that result from adding up the forces of the eco-tourism, conservation, fishing and construction industries. The bureaucratic machinery of the National Park, as well as the local and national government agencies, add a gear of control that magnifies as the result of an ever-growing attempt to regulate immigration flows, tourism quotas, fishing seasons and extraction ratios. We realized that just as the Galapagos Islands had become the ideal laboratory for evolutionists since Darwin visited them in 1835, its workshop of living mechanisms could also serve to test novel ideas and hypothesis stemming from the laboratories of landscape and sustainable urban design. The conflicts (and we mean conflict in a positive sense) that propel action in the islands provide a micro-version -with all its complexities- of otherwise magnified urban conditions. Furthermore, the agents/agencies that shape its urban and agricultural settlements (which occupy only a rough 3% of the archipelago’s total territory, but nevertheless act as vortexes whose ripples impact every “corner” of the surrounding ocean and land), reproduce in a semi-contained scenario the patterns of global urban development. This minute network of settlements displays conditions that are analogous to their larger counterparts along the tropical belt, whose cities expand as many in the northern hemisphere contract, and can provide the ideal site in which to develop more sustainable modes of living.
Historic background
Mentioned by Fray Tomás de Berlanga for the first time in historic records in 1535(2), and immediately ruled out as “useless” and unworthy of further attention; during the XVII and XVIII Centuries, the Galápagos Islands became a temporary refuge for pirates and buccaneers, who found in their remoteness an ideal refuge and supply base of fresh meat (turtles could survive for up to a year without drinking water in the vessels). Ecuador was established as an independent Republic in 1830, following the dissolution of the Gran Colombia, and one of its first acts of autonomy was to incorporate the Galapagos Islands to its territory in 1832. As is the case with many islands, its first permanent human settlements were composed mainly of deported prisoners who found new confinement within the natural jail offered by Charles Island, which was renamed Isla Floreana, after the first President of Ecuador, Venezuelan General Juan José Flores.
The penal community was short-lived, as were most proto-societies that tried to tame the soil of a volcanic and arid archipelago(3). It is interesting to observe the drastic pits that punctuate the erratic population curve of the islands, whose numbers suddenly plunge to 0, more than once, in Floreana (Charles Island) and Santiago (James Island). Its inhabitants would either migrate to other islands, return to the continent, or kill each other (the consecutive cases of murder in the meagrely populated archipelago are worthy of psycho-sociological research).
The first successful settlements were the agrarian communities established in early XX Century by landowners like Manuel J. Cobos in San Cristóbal (Chatham Island) and Antonio Gil in Isabela (Albemarle Island). Cobos managed to construct a working hacienda in the fertile soils of the highlands of San Cristóbal, and as the production of coffee beans and other agricultural and dairy products flourished(4), he built the necessary infrastructure that would facilitate trade with the continent. In the south western coastline of the island he erected a port with all its facilities: beacon, loading deck, pier, warehouses and workers residences. He linked the harbour to the hacienda through a railway and he installed a piping system that could supply the port with fresh water extracted from El Junco, the only well in the whole archipelago (other islands, like Floreana, have short supply springs). He even purchased a vessel that could travel to and from the continent in less time than the governmentally owned Buque Cotopaxi (Idrovo).

The irreversible turning point, nevertheless, occurred in the 1940s, when the US government negotiated with its Ecuadorian counterpart the temporary occupation of Baltra Island. The Galapagos archipelago is located approximately 1000 miles west of the South American Pacific coastline, right on the Equator. Its position became strategic during the II World War, when the need to defend the South Pacific in general and the Panama Canal in particular, became an imperative. In 1940, the Lepwing Cruise launched the survey operation that would produce some of the most precise cartographies of the islands up to date. The coastline survey was complemented by a thorough aerial and ground photographic registration undertaken by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The 1941 Pearl Harbour attack accentuated the need to defend the Pacific and by the following year a 2,449 meters long air strip had been built in Northern Baltra Island, together with an aerial and naval station base; a network of approximately 200 Km of paved roads; a steel and concrete wharf with two cranes; approximately 400 wood houses that could accommodate 4000 soldiers and 250 officials; and two desalinization plants which nevertheless proved incapable of providing enough drinking water for the population of civil workers, residents and temporary visitors. The rudimentary aqueduct built by Cobos in San Cristóbal (Chatham Island) was up-graded by the US Army into a piping system capable of pumping the 215,000 gallons needed to fill each one of two barges that would travel daily between Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and the US military base. Furthermore, a network of radar stations was built in diverse peripheral and strategic locations throughout the archipelago, in order to defend the centrally located base of Baltra Island, which came to be known as “the Rock.” (Idrovo)

This mega-infrastructural intervention shifted the fate of the islands, which were suddenly ripe for a larger human occupation. By 1946 the base had been almost completely dismantled and much of its debris poured into the ocean. Following a request from the Ecuadorian government, its wood barracks were donated to the inhabitants of the islands. These recycled pine houses count among the earliest architectural precedents of the archipelago, together with the adobe, brick and wood structures built by Ecuadorians like Manuel J. Cobos in San Cristóbal; the huts and stone warehouses of German, Norwegian and American treasure hunters of Eden who settled in the islands; and penal vestiges like the Muro de las Lágrimas (the Wall of Tears), which was erected as penance by prisoners in Isabela (Albemarle Island) after the Ecuadorian government decided to reactivate the radar station installed by the Americans as a prison camp. This was back in the days when the streets had not yet been paved and the sand of their surfaces shone for the children to play in full moon nights, according to a local inhabitant’s nostalgic description of Puerto Ayora.
Throughout the 1950´s, the Galapagos Islands remained the focus of scientific and academic excursions, and its visitors would mainly arrive in private sailing boats. It wasn´t until 1959 that 97% of the territory of the archipelago was declared a National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, which remains their stronghold of scientific research and conservation, was created in Brussels. Its base opened in 1964 in Puerto Ayora, largely as a result of the visit of Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt in 1957. The Austrian biologist had initiated and led the UNESCO expedition that surveyed the islands, and laid the theoretical groundwork that called for the creation of a research station as well as a clear environmental and economic strategy for their future preservation. The symbiosis between conservation efforts and tourism that persists today finds its roots in the perception shift that Eibl-Eibesfeldt enabled when he proposed tourism as an economic activity that would allow Ecuadorians and their government to make financial sense of the Galápagos without resorting to extraction or agriculture. This is the very root, as well, of the conflict between fishermen, fisheries, scientists, and tourism agencies; a conflict in which the National Park, the Navy, the Migration Police, and other national and local instances of government whose layers of control have been added and reinforced throughout time (opening yet another window for corruption), play a rather labile role.
The first hotel did not open until 1960, when Forrest Nelson, one of many Americans who migrated to the archipelago after the war, inaugurated the Hotel Galápagos in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. In the same year, the first informal tours were organized by the company Ecuatoriana de Turismo Galápagos S.A., which was created in Guayaquil. Formal, international tourism as an organized activity, nevertheless, was not launched until 1966, when the Quito-based company Metropolitan Touring developed a water-based mode of tourism in conjunction with the National Park. The reconstruction of Baltra´s airport began in 1967, and in the same year TAME (Transportes Aéreos Militares Ecuatorianos/Ecuadorian Military Air Transport) initiated monthly flights to the archipelago. With its infrastructure in place and an incipient but promising industry, the Galapagos Islands started to play a pivotal role within the Ecuadorian economy and were raised to the status of province in 1973, during the oil boom decade of bureaucratic expansion, with Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, in San Cristóbal Island, as its capital. In 1978 UNESCO declared the Galápagos Islands Natural Patrimony for Humanity, boosting their international renown. Because of its proximity to the airport, Puerto Ayora developed as the capital of tourism and became the seat of the National Park and the Charles Darwin Station. Conversely, Pto. Baquerizo, the political capital, evolved its character from an existing small scale
fishing culture, its government agencies and the Ecuadorian Navy. Its airport was not built until 1985. Since then, tourism has added a layer to the character of the port, particularly when the Explorer, a large cruise owned by the Guayaquil-based company Canodros, anchors in the harbour to collect tourists who barely touch the ground before sailing into “paradise.”
At the Junctures of Generic Global Infrastructures and Local Specificities
Key aspects of contemporary space, and the culture that has engendered it in time, become relevant in the archipelago. It could be argued that one of the most interesting paradoxes of our age of accelerated urban growth, global saturation, hyperactive migration, and unbridled geographical accessibility is that isolation and remoteness, as they become scarcer, are turning into veritable luxuries that only a privileged few can afford to visit or inhabit. In the age of connectivity, an ability to disconnect is becoming a coveted commodity exploited by both the tourism and the real-estate industries in a never ending vicious circle of temporarily or permanently populating the remote(less-to be). Nowhere is the implacability of globalization as a tangible –not virtual- phenomenon of concentrations and disintegrations, accretions and depletions, more apparent than in “isolated” areas where settlements have become an unsettling issue.
Until recently, the latter were overlooked by urbanists, who centred their research attention in the large urban concentrations of industrial and post-industrial cities. Currently, the traditionally unsurveyed territories of the remote are becoming one of the main focuses of attention within urban studies, for the last bastions of distance are becoming subject to unprecedented and unique processes of urbanization. The very definition of “city” collapses when one is faced with the remote. One wonders whether the five main human settlements of the Galapagos Islands should be defined as towns (for quantitative reasons), cities (for their urban character) or as an urban network where infrastructure provides an inter-island support for a unified and complementary urban culture, which includes the permanent occupation of the floating cities that lodge a fluid, but constant and ever-increasing number of visitors.
Within a global network where hiper(conne/a)ctivity and interdependence have recast notions of hierarchy, survival strategy and success, some argue that formerly rigid, pyramidal relations of power have been substituted by nodal capacities for interconnectivity. The success of a node lies in its ability to shift and establish flexible, reciprocal and switchable (as on/off or through the creation of alternative, indirect pathways) interconnections within a system. Nevertheless, as multiple visible and invisible networks of diverse scale and impact rewire, values emerge and submerge. One may wonder, then, how to approach the paradoxical double objective of achieving a condition of disconnectivity, remoteness and isolation as these qualities breed a new commodity for “place,” and simultaneously link a remote area to users throughout the global market, at the expense of triggering the permanent or temporal, land-intensive, colonization of space that shall erode the initial appeal of isolation.
In spite of their physical separation, the nodal role that the Galapagos Islands play within the eco-tourism and conservation industries alludes to a contemporary quality we could synthesize as “the impossibility of isolation.” Their increasing interconnectivity can soon bring about their downfall. The islands call for further research related to notions of border –however dynamic; control –however soft; and barrier –however immaterial or transparent. This alludes to another trait of contemporary space: “Frontiers” and “pioneers” are becoming chimeras under the super-vision of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and remote areas have become nodal or central in a network of infrastructural-urban developments that branch out in response to diverse global market needs. Remote areas are being harnessed for raw materials extraction, as tourism grounds or as the geographical support for new regional connections and infrastructures. This brings to the fore the role that position and positioning play within ground reshaping, as well as the ways in which hierarchy of location is determined by relationships within a network or set of networks. As they shift, “position” shifts, and fixed notions of hierarchy collapse, or more accurately, are ceaselessly restated.


Figure 5: Real-estate development along the upper fringe of Pto. Baquerizo Moreno reproduces patterns encountered in the mainland. As stated in the billboard (left), 135 houses will be sold in plans and built following the aesthetics proposed in the model house (right).
Photographs by Fernando Tirado

If in the past the preconditions for human inhabitation and settlement were proximity to water, rich soils and trade routes; currently, the main breeders for new, linear, branching or nodal patterns of inhabitation are infrastructures. Or at least, this is the case in remote areas, for infrastructural networks feed the ingredients necessary to sustain a human system of organization anywhere. The history of human settlements in the Galapagos Islands makes it clear that a deployment of infrastructure was a precondition for population growth and the emergence of urban quality (which does not stem merely from number or density, but also from trait, particularly “global” trait) in the midst of a hostile landscape. The archipelago is an excellent, manageable case study in which to explore what occurs at the intersections of generic, global infrastructures and local, specific conditions. It illustrates how, on the one hand, the economy or the military engineer and deploy large infrastructural pieces without involving neither designers nor the local communities -in spite of the fact that their interventions are bound to breed colonization and settlement. On the other hand, informal cities grow devoid of

embedded infrastructural services.
Sited images
The tourism industry zealously protects the “image” concocted by documentaries and the media: the “myth” of a pristine, innocent, natural enclave; of a raw kingdom of reptiles, unstained by the evil forces of civilization. The role the media plays in reshaping a territory cannot be overemphasized. The Galápagos Islands owe the press and marketing their ascendance to the status of celebrity within the geographical star system of eco-tourism. Perception of place, eventually, becomes sited image. So the islands have metamorphosed from the hellish, almost industrial, nightmare of cinders and fumes poetically described by Herman Melville in his Enchanted Isles; to the distillery of Darwin´s living laboratory (the numbers of “species samples” extracted by naturalists in the XIX and early XX Centuries from the islands for Natural Museum
archives are yet to be computed); to the Eden of peace sought by war refugees like Dr. Ritter; to the natural thematic park of William Beebe´s texts… to the fallen angel of a demonic global era denounced by Michael D’Orso. In the Galapagos, reality has surpassed the image of itself, like Dorian Gray exceeded his portrait: the fact is that “paradise” has flattened to become the exotic, scenic background of top models in one of Sports Illustrated most popular issues, and that the Galapagos Islands have become one of the main hot spots promoted by surfing magazines (Larson). In the meanwhile, the largest portion of the electricity generated to light this background at night is combusted from diesel; most of its sewage goes untreated into the ocean; and waste accumulates in its garbage in-fills. The issue of how to deal with the city within the national park, not simply the park within the city, remains largely unaddressed, lurking…
To Reach Out:
A Duty
It is this kind of challenge that architecture is called to address in contemporary culture. A sense of duty and responsibility is being reinfused into the discipline as questions are asked and responses sought. And architecture can, indeed, respond. The key to one of the most underutilized professions within the realm of knowledge is its studio culture, its engrained think-thank mechanism, and a research based, dynamic, fluid approach to the notion of “project.” Knowledge takes shape in the games and methods, the experimentation and inquiry that architectural studios accommodate. Spatial curiosity may breed a desire to “draw out” as one draws, as one cuts, dissects and unwraps the amalgam of material culture. Extreme, exacted, specialization has kept the potential of architecture harnessed: it unleashes as relationships with other fields are established. This rapport, however, should not dilute the discrete and unique identity of architectural thought and activity, for it can fulfil its duties and responsibilities, and contribute significantly to society, insofar as it remains affiliated with its design tasks, as it reinforces the unique traits of its trade, however tolerant and open-minded.




Figure 6: Above: diesel-based electric plant in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal Island. Center: sewage, as it is discharged untreated into the Pacific. Below: garbage in-fill in the highlands of San Cristóbal Island (AECI, the Spanish International Cooperation Agency, initiated a program to recycle garbage in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in the year 2006).
Photographs: Fernando Tirado

Footnotes
(1) In a nutshell, the Informal Modernity of Latin America could be described as a rich agglomeration of units built following the logic of Le Corbusier´s Domino System, stripped of its potential as free plan and/or façade, for columns and envelopes meet along the same axes, in the fashion of vernacular wall bearing structures.
(2) Apparently, pre-Hispanic cultures did temporarily inhabit the archipelago, as archaeological findings seem to suggest. However, these incursions never translated into permanent occupation. (3) This description does not apply to the highlands of older islands like San Cristóbal (Chatham), where soil and humidity support a lush, tropical vegetation. (4) This included the turtle oil which served to operate the electrical system of Guayaquil
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