On The Edge

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Jens Rex Christensen
  • Ditte Bendix Lanng
4. term, Urban Design, Master (Master Programme)
´On the Edge´ is a master thesis project at the Urban Design specialisation, Institute of Architecture and Design, Aalborg University. The project has been composed by Jens Rex Christensen and Ditte Bendix Lanng from February to June 2008. The project is concerned with the edge of Denmark. It works with a double reading of the notion ´edge´: - The edge of Denmark is where growth and development has its periphery. It is the outskirts – places which are no longer on the main agenda after the structural changes in Denmark. - The edge of Denmark is also where earth meets water – a special landscape space with specific cultural imprints which might hold the capacity to contribute as a resource in the development of new local agendas on the edge.. The project responds to a prevailing issue in Denmark: The polarised Danish geography where the rural and remote areas – in particular along the western coastline – experience decline while people and jobs move towards the urbanised areas in the east. The project is formulated as a journey on the edge; a journey into the exploration, understanding, and interaction with spaces on the edge. With the project we seek to propose how we – as urban designers – can reflect the profession in the shaping mechanisms of the edge. Problem With the present planning discourse as a frame, the project seeks to define and locate energies and development potentials on the edge. The official planning discourse is established by the latest version of the National Planning Report (Landsplanredegørelse 2006). The Report constitutes a geographical opposition in Denmark between central growing areas and declining remote areas. The outskirts on the edge of Denmark suffer from the structural shift caused by the transition to knowledge society and the globalisation. The dominating infrastructural and economical logics, making the cities into the primary forces of attraction, has made it very difficult to maintain the energy which used to be on the edge, let alone to infuse new energy. The project opposes the polarisation and searches for possibilities for physical development on the edge which can meet the challenges facing the remote areas. The landscape of the edge is the space for the physical interventions of the project. ´On the Edge´ understands the landscape as an operational space shaping and organising processes and elements. The landscape of the edge is more than a picturesque conception; it is a multifunctional space which can simultaneously be developed and utilised, as well as protected and sustained. Methodology The project is carried out along two tracks: an explorative journey on the edge and a perspective overview. The journey is undertaken in a field of exploration, demarcated by a day-long journey on the edge. The explorative process recognises intuitive, impulsive and narrative conceptions and seeks to unfold the edge for new readings which can challenge the established perceptions. The overview track treats the framing conditions of the material that we move through. With this track we seek to position the experienced reality on the edge in its greater strategic context. In close relationship with the field experiences and with the result of the empirical analysis, we have employed processes of conceptual design which facilitate a simultaneous and dynamic work with analytical data and forward-striving potentials. On the journeys, the thesis of the project is formulated. The thesis is that place-specific amenity values of the edge landscape together with existing economies can form the basis of developing energetic local hybrid projects on the edge. The projects are spatial and architectural interventions which insert new stories and development perspectives in the local situations. Thus, ´On the Edge´ seeks to compile creative links between the energy of the functional-economic landscape and of the natural values of the same landscape. Project results ´On the Edge´ points towards a process of distinction on the edge, grounded in place specific conditions and potentials. Both the method and the hybrid concept support the aim of distinction. The explorative method has created an understanding of the edge as a highly diverse field – a mosaic. The method performs as an alternative point of view, challenging the dominating conceptions and showing new varied interpretations and treatments of the edge. The concept deploys a hybrid with the multifunctional landscapes of the edge. In these landscapes economical and spatial resources have been uncovered. They form the basis of physical interventions containing new stories and energy. Finally, in a conceptual design the project manifests a proactive relationship of exchange between a large economical actor on the edge - the wind turbine industry, and a local society on the edge – Thyborøn. In a local spatial anchoring this pilot project seeks to create a field of energy in the landscape of Thyborøn: applicable, distinctive urban spaces which anchor the landscape of wind production in an urban and recreational quality and supply the small town with new energy.
Publication date2008
Number of pages106
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet, Arkitektur og Design
ID: 14420490