Envisioning sustainable forestry communities in Northern Ontario: the role of architecture and design
Dow, Fraser Alexander
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This thesis envisions sustainable forestry communities in Northern Ontario. Forestry communities struggle to maintain a quality of life against obstacles such as external (often global) economic pressures on the community’s forestry operation, youth out-migration and lack of local control over their natural resources. Principle aims in this thesis are to understand the built environment of small, remote forestry communities; to propose a vision for community self-sufficiency and long-term sustainability; and lastly, to identify the role of architecture in envisioning a built environment that might evolve alongside principles for long-term sustainability. The design exploration is focused on enhancing the quality of place in the north through effective integration with the boreal forest and its renewable resources. Scandinavian models emerging in towns with similar ecological conditions to Canada suggest that rethinking the use of local ecological resources might lead to appropriate architectural response in the region – one which offers stronger identity for these forestry communities. Such design processes are centered on two main questions: what overall framework will allow communities themselves to self-organize local resources, culture and knowledge towards long-term sustainability and regional identity?; and how can architecture and design specifically contribute to these objectives as well as sustain forestry communities?