Destruction + Imagination = Opportunity
After Storm Arwen, forests in the south of Scotland suffered catastrophic damage, 8 million trees were flattened or damaged across Scotland. A huge clean up is planned by and the Scottish forestry industry and are currently taking decisions on handling the extra volumes of timber that needs to be harvested. Most of the timber will be processed and distributed to the paper, fencing, power (bio-fuel) and house building industries.
With such a huge volume of extra storm damaged timber, there is scope to consider what else might it be used for. One proposal is that we use the timber to build a series of log cabins along a walking/ cycling route across the south of Scotland. A route that is complementary or parallel to the Southern Upland Way. A route that can develop over time whilst creating socioeconomic revenue and a sense of place in areas that might not have had the opportunity before.
Offering the Opportunity:
To acknowledge the history-making events of the area, thus building upon a local sense of identity and belonging
To develop the surplus timber and invite co-collaboration between industries and the local communities along the route.
To collaborate and build useful professional networks with international specialists in countries like Alaska, Canada, Norway and Finland etc.
To involve the Scottish Timber Industry, The Centre for Timber Engineering, Higher Education, SOSE and the Visit Scotland actors in the area.
To promote the beauty, culture and potential of the south
To encourage tourism and staycation activity in the area
To stimulate other social and economic opportunities in the area
To provide a method of encouraging environmental awareness
To promote a mindset of climate resilience and adaptation practice
To provide local employment
To develop an international destination for rural activity and cultural exchange
To benefit from the new transport infrastructure in the south such as the new Reston rail station
To meaningfully connect the south-east to the south-west of the region
To promote the Scottish timber industry, its diversity and ingenuity
To engage the local youth and provide opportunities to develop a wider range of interests
I have seen the positive and negative impact that place can have in Scotland – Developing positive developmental impact is so important to individuals,communities and the nation's sense of itself . As a young-ish designer working on an inspiring project called the Stirling Tolbooth in Stirland with Richard Murphy Architects. I saw first-hand the positive impact created by a development that encourages, new connections, pride in the area and stimulus for new opportunity in commerce, culture and social exploration.
In any context, this rings true.
If imaginative approaches are allowed to develop and play a role in the way we deal with the impact of destruction, then positive opportunities will always surface..