Landscape + Urbanism

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Studio tutor: Howard Evans



In the darkest days of the early Covid-19 Pandemic, there were a few small glimmers of hope that positive change could come from societal shifts.  On 16th June 2020, at 67 days, 22 hours and 55 minutes, the UK went for the longest period of time since the Victorian era without using coal to generate its electricity.  Global CO2 emissions had dropped by 6.4% or 2.3 billion tons.

Turn to 2022 and we have just witnessed successive UK governments greenlight new coal mining in Cumbria, new North Sea gas and oil exploration and lift a moratorium on shale gas fracking as the ‘solution’ to the energy crisis.  Not only this, they have also actively derided the use of onshore wind and solar, ‘because they are ugly’.  

This is set against a backdrop of significant rises in global C02 production to greater than pre-pandemic levels, the Ukrainian war seeing Russia petulantly burning gas rather than supply it to European users.

The studio will explore the cultural and historical legacy of our relationship with coal production.  We will be exploring the landscape network of the Coalfields, an area of open woodland, farmland and rolling hills in the centre of the UK.  

This will lead to investigations as to how we might develop synergies between landscapes and how we live and work within the modern rural ecology.  The studio will consider the changes within the demographics of the coalfields network and the impact that this has on the social needs of its inhabitants.

The resultant projects will create briefs that will be wide ranging but may have a focus on the development of operative communities and how they in turn develop support networks for health and wellbeing, learning, working and living.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

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