Making stuff- the agency of doing in non-growth contexts
Abstract: This project has developed from the site and building conditions in an area of central Boden, a town in the inland north of Sweden. In post-war times, the city grew thanks to the military and regional hospital resulting in the development of the site Prästholmen that was realized true to the modernistic ideal of the time. Since then, Boden together with its inland neighbours, have struggled against the tides of urbanisation and decline but at Prästholmen we see the marks of this in the footprints. Here, 12 buildings were demolished during the government subsidized demolitions in the end of the 1990’s and since then little has happened in the environment. One yellow building, the last one of its kind, stands alone, far away from everything else on the site. In the building, the only major physical improvement since its construction in 1974 is the space renovated as an art project of empowerment in one of the bottom-floor apartments. Today, there is generally little sympathy for the building among the people in the area and the likely outcome of its situation is that it, like it previous neighbours, will be demolished, despite a well-documented housing shortage in the town. This housing shortage might be contradictory to the non-growth context, but it seems like the unstable population condition effects the opportunities for development, leaving an urban environment in deterioration. This relationship indicates a need of understanding the urgency in appreciating the existing building stock as an important asset, and in creating conditions giving possibilities for people to develop their surrounding from within, in the absence of external actors. In this project I am dealing with this through the agency of making, or even more broadly- the agency of doing. Through suggesting strategical frameworks, networks and enabling environments as well as visualising possible results, I want to deal with making as a tool for both effecting once surrounding and as a way of appreciating it.
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