On The Edge
The island of Newfoundland is “on the edge”. Geographically it lies along the edge of the North Atlantic, it forms the edge of Canada, and its settlements cling to the edge of its coastline. Economically, it has forever been on the edge of declin¬e. Yet, its unique geographic and economic conditions present untapped opportunities.
This edge condition along the coast of Newfoundland was the very reason for settlement, providing the vital connection between land and sea. Over the past 400 years the people of Newfoundland have proudly established a way of life, a culture, and a deep and unwavering attachment to place. Thousands of outports (small coastal rural communities) scatter the 9,656km of rugged coastline of the island, with an overall island population of approximately 500,000. Since confederation in 1949, the pressures and effects of industrialization, globalization, commodification, modernization, and urbanization have rendered outports unproductive, with hundreds having vanished altogether. Economic hardships fueled by the island’s reactive boom and bust economy have launched massive waves of outmigration.
Considering the wealth of natural and social resources, as well as the deep cultural heritage and attachment to place, this studio will investigate design strategies to revitalize rural coastal communities. The studio is structured in three parts; Nissological mapping of land and marine ecologies and infrastructure; outport field studies in Newfoundland; and landscape-based design strategies.
Studio Travel: Students will travel to Newfoundland for one week in October to gain an appreciation for the uniqueness of the rural coastal landscape, community, and culture. While on the island, students will have the opportunity to engage with a selected outport community to conduct and document individual site investigations that will aid in their final design strategies. While the trip is optional, it is highly recommended in order to understand the complexity of the studio topic.