Maniitsoq - anguniakkat periarfissallu
Maniitsoq - visions and possibilities

We have recently come to a culmination and a preliminary conclusion of our one-year engagement in Greenland - resulting in a vision report, an exhibition, presentations and discussions with inhabitants and politicians.

XL-L-M-S Greenland

XL - Greenland is confronting great changes and upheavals. From being a huge icecap in a remote corner of the world – Greenland has become the world’s most urgent icon for climate-changes. At the same time, Greenland is facing a possible exploitation of oil, gas and hydropower, and new industrialisation from aluminium-plants and mining. New sources of income might mean economical independence from Denmark, but also a significant impact on the landscape – a paradigmatic shift from natural landscapes to industrial landscapes – a shift with no return.

L – Maniitsoq is a mid-size Greenlandic city with, approx. 2800 inhabitants. Because of its strategic location regarding hydropower, the city is designated as site for Alcoa’s aluminium production in Greenland. Alcoa in Maniitsoq means doubling the city’s number of inhabitants. Maniitsoq is a city in recession, and Alcoa means hope for a prosperous future for the municipality. 70°N were invited by Qeqqata Kommunia to help preparing Maniitsoq for possible futures – in a broad span of scenarios, from rapid expansion to a continuation without aluminium. All based on strategies for preparing the landscape for changes - on natural and social sustainability, densification, housing standard, typologies, infrastructure and for transformation of the city and the landscape.

M – Greenlandic housing has always been characterized by typologies from Europe and Denmark that not necessarily have been appropriate for the landscape or the cultural context. There is an ongoing national debate on housing typologies and housing standards that is deeply reflected in the local discussion about Maniitsoq’s future. 70°N introduce the necessity for a higher architectural and technical standard on the housing stock, and the need for a more sustainable development of the municipality. Further, we introduce the possibility for renovating some of the old blocks into new and modern apartments – also as a strategy for resource saving where no more mistakes from the past should be made again.

S – In Maniitsoq the inhabitants and the municipality are highly committed in the processes concerning improvement and development of the place and the city. In a discussion of sustainable changes that regard the inhabitants and the landscape independently of Alcoa, we have discussed a ‘Point of Departure’ strategy, which can handle a vulnerable situation. This is a process of mapping and of being aware of existing qualities in the city. These ‘Points of Departure’ emphasize the qualities that are found, or become special locations to be developed into projects of subtle interest and importance for the city and the people in Maniitsoq.

See the exhibition in the Town Hall of Maniitsoq, Kuuttartoq B1077 – or see the pdf-report here.

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