Eleanor Gibson

Reimagining the Company Town: A Model For Future Landscapes of Coexistence

Studio 1A: Urban Design and Landscape Architecture

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My thesis project focuses on the heavy industrial port towns along the coast of Queensland, Australia, occupying the space between Australia’s booming natural resources industry and The Great Barrier Reef. As the world slowly moves away from fossil fuels, a not-so-distant future emerges of these industrial areas slipping into decline, with a solution required to take care of the damaged landscapes they leave behind.

The project proposes a long-term landscape transformation of the Gladstone region, where in only 60 years the rich wetland ecosystem has been transformed into a network of heavy industrial sites. The existing green structures of the region are strengthened in conversation with the industrial elements, whilst the coastline is articulated to meet future sea level rise. The project is spatially developed through a transformative masterplan for the industrial site of Queensland Alumina Limited, reimagining it as a ‘post-post-industrial park’; a post-industrial park that holds a broader, more ecologically relevant range of functions.

Using Bruno Latour’s concept of The Critical Zone to define the scope of the remediation efforts, the strategy handles the physical and cultural transition of the region by rethinking the concept of a productive landscape; recognising the soil and the earth as a valuable resource, for more than just mining.