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Vacation Village; LA trio designs resort, residential plan in Dominican Republic

Vacation Village; LA trio designs resort, residential plan in Dominican Republic

One of the most visited islands in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic, was home base for a select group of students from Texas Tech’s Department of Landscape Architecture this year. The three weren’t there for the sun and sand; they were there to work up a master design plan for a Boca De Yuma private developer called the ‘Yuma Bay Vacation Village.’

The capstone project covered a 250-acre site and focused on developing a resort, residential plan, said John Billing, associate professor with Tech’s Department of Landscape Architecture. “This final project was created for Landscape Architecture 4507, which is a senior design studio. It allowed them to take their knowledge and skills, and combine them into a project of their interest,” he said.

Surrounded by beautiful beaches, Boca de Yuma is a village in the province of La Altagracia in the Dominican Republic. Situated west of the mouth of the Rio Yuma River near the Caribbean Sea, it has a population of about 2,400 people.

Jenna Loa, Ruben Abbud and Katelyn Grass, all recent graduates of the Tech department, created the master plan, which included everything from a casino to an apartment complex and recreation activities. Billing said there are primarily five major steps in creating a master design project.

The plan began with a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic that allowed the students to conduct a site inventory, Billing said. An analysis was taken of site elements such as soil content, slope, typography and other existing characteristics. Students then conduct a content analysis of other case studies relative to their plan.

After the preliminary plan circulates to faculty within the department and the students receive feedback, the final master plan is constructed and displayed in a formal presentation. Billing said this type of project gives students international perspective into a different environment and culture. Not to mention a project of this caliber would be a beneficial addition to a student’s portfolio.

Separately, Billing said that other landscape architecture projects that have been completed in the department include a water conservation plan for the Colorado River Authority, an ecotourism project in Yucatan, Mexico, and a number of projects in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. Meanwhile back in the Dominican Republic, there’s a discussion underway with Boca De Yuma officials about the possibility of creating a senior design studio plan involving creation of a visitor’s center in a national park within the community.

Written by Faith Jurek

CONTACT: John Billing, associate professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Texas Tech University at 806-742-2011 or



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