Work title: Greenland Industrial Ecology
I like the idea of focusing on the production of energy and food, as food is an important issue when talking about self-sufficient conditions.
Nevertheless I have doubts if building an hydroelectric dam is a good approach for the project. Seems too traditional and expected, in my opinion. [EBP]
Even the project proposes partnerships between industry, agriculture and community it is debatable the construction of a damn which inevitably alters aquatic and land ecosystems both upstream and downstream of the site. The economic flows are not described but can easily be inferred. It is somehow disturbing the development of a Productive Region matching agriculture irrigated by the dam spillway, and the extraction of rare earth metals. [CRN]
GREENLAND: AN INTRODUCTION
People have survived at the edge of the icy wilderness in Greenland for thousands of years. A former colony and newly independent Arctic nation, its changing climate is revealing ice-free land, extending the growing season, and attracting an influx of international interest in exploiting its mineral and energy resources. Greenland wants to seize this opportunity to position itself as a modern self-sufficient country among the arctic nations, no longer relying on Danish economic subsidies.
Despite the wealth of investment flowing into their country, Greenlanders in smaller communities are dealing with serious social and economic issues. The financial power and resource capability of the multinational oil and mining corporations far exceeds the abilities of the Greenlandic government to provide for its people.
The interests of extraction industries and local settlements often conflict, but in Greenland, both share the challenges of landscape and climate. We propose a series of mutually beneficial partnerships between incoming investors and existing entrepreneurs, creating a new ecosystem of productivity. Our goal is to position local interests to take advantage of corporate capabilities. The Greenlandic people should be able to act as stewards of their own lives and landscape as they meet the global world.
SOUTH GREENLAND: LOCAL INTERESTS + CORPORATE CAPABILITIES
The area of south Greenland currently presents a spatial juxtaposition between corporate resource exploitation and local efforts in agriculture, fishing, and sheep and reindeer farming. We propose to engage these contrasting activities by presenting a catalogue of interventions derived from overlaps between macro- and micro-scale industrial programmes.
Of the five interventions we have developed, we have chosen to focus on one, which responds to a crucial development in Narsaq. Australian-owned Greenland Minerals and Energy has planned an open pit mine for the extraction of rare earth minerals. To power the mine, a hydroelectric dam and reservoir are planned in a glacial valley to the northeast, where sheep farming and agricultural efforts are also present.
Our proposal expands the scale of this activity to create a Productive Region, overlapping the construction, operation, and infrastructure of hydroelectric and agricultural industries in a mutually beneficial relationship. The Productive Region fosters a vibrant community at the intersection of the production of energy and food - a precedent for a new type of self-sufficient community in Greenland.
The Productive Region includes zones we have called the Reservoir Pasture, the Agricultural Spillway, and the Digestive Dam.
The Reservoir Pasture is an area for grazing sheep on the hills surrounding the new reservoir. The Agricultural Spillway is an area radiating downstream from the dam, sculpted to provide land suitable for farming, irrigated by water from the spillway. Our proposal combats the typical problems of precipitation, rough land, poor soil, and remote location faced by farmers in Greenland.
The Digestive Dam is a series of buildings that use the structure and shape of the dam to augment operations involving aggregate, silt, algae, vehicles, sheep, agricultural products, and environmental monitoring. Growing over time, it forms the connective tissue for the convergence of local production with processing, trade, and distribution.
Phase 1: The embankment dam is constructed across the valley. Rock is strategically blasted from hillsides to supply fill material for the dam, and at the same time to sculpt flat terraces for eventual farming. The construction of an aggregate processing facility means the dam can continually build itself over time.
Phase 2: The valley is enriched with dredged soil for agriculture. Silt builds up in the reservoir over time, decreasing the dam’s generating capacity. Regular dredging combats this, and a facility is built to process silt into usable soil. The soil is distributed across the valley on the flattened terraces.
Phase 3: Farming begins. Facilities for storing harvested grain and for shearing and slaughtering sheep are built along the dam, taking advantage of its sloped section and its transportation network. Water from the dam spillways is collected in holding ponds and distributed for irrigation.
Phase 4: As farming activity grows more intensive in the region, the dam becomes the focal point of a new community. An ‘Agricultural Extension’ school conducts research and teaching, engaging the ecology of the fields and the reservoir. Supply stores, elementary schools and chapels may emerge.
By integrating a hydroelectric dam, a collection of domestic farms, and a variety of industrial, agricultural, and community facilities, a new industrial ecology emerges to meet the needs of both global and local economies. Greenland can sustain itself into the future by continuing to embrace unexpected partnerships.