This recurring Master of Architecture studio considered the future developments of contested post-industrial sites. These sites, once nerve centres of the economy, are now laden with social, ethical, economic and political concerns that conflict with principles of sustainability. The growth of the city often engulfs such sites, attracting large investment in medium- and high-density housing. This studio therefore aimed to critique thoughtless site developments that use the banner of ‘regeneration and renewal’ to rationalise rampant development and fuel further consumption.
Drawing on multi-scalar mapping and the idea of the circular economy, students highlighted the untapped opportunity these post-industrial brownfield sites offer for reimagining the future of our cities. Pre-existing infrastructure servicing such sites allows ready-made access to roads, energy, water and other site services. Current debates over city futures embracing notions of advanced manufacturing, smart cities, the future of employment, resilience and adaptability can all potentially play a role the success of the redevelopment of these sites.
The studio ran over the span of three years (2015-2017), allowing a range of students to continually build on NSW and local government discussion papers, to propose urban and architectural interventions that simultaneously addressed the conflicting conditions of the sites, whilst positing alternate futures for the precincts.