RURAL | Some points

Posted on 18/11/2022


At this stage, I am orienting my work towards reporting findings and making conclusions. This project was always focused on writing and publishing with a view to imprinting some alternative approaches to rural and regional planning and design and garnering interest in rural design. There are many competing claims on land and landscapes in this country; a history that is awash with blood and pain; calls for justice and a voice; and a future that seems tenuous at best given the screaming crises that plague this planet.

What kinds of points could be made:

  1. That Country, criss-crossed by Songlines resonating with memory, is the first consideration of any design or planning process – there is no palimpsest
  2. That many wrongs need to be redirected
  3. Rural design is not a single design process or practice – it is and can be an umbrella for multiple design approaches. For example, any consideration of climate change can also consider transitions and design futures
  4. That meta-design can be a challenge for many
  5. That rural design has presented many possibilities and futures in other countries and might do the same here if developing from local energies and sensibilities rather than normative ideas of economic development
  6. That system innovation and system learning need to be identified and nurtured to develop transitions pathways
  7. That professionals are better placed at listening and collaborating with communities to progress positive development rather than imposing models from the toolkit of urban solutions to recreate regional and rural places
  8. The ethics and codes of many professional practices need to change
  9. That the flows and networks between urban and rural regions, including proximity to urban centres, shape regional and rural development
  10. That people need to care about and care for bio-regions in ways that mesh culture, terrain and ecology, and for ecoregions in ways that protect biodiversity and prevent human overuse
  11. That nature-based solutions – beyond the ecosystems services thinking – could move communities towards new forms of agriculture, housing, natural resource management, and more
  12. That foundational services are both changing rural economies and not evenly distributed

Of course, there is more to say.

I am still looking for my copy of Yunkaporta’s book, painstakingly checking my double and triple stacked bookshelves and piles of displaced books on the floor, only to rediscover Paul Carter’s slowly breathing work, Ground Truthing. In it he writes so beautifully of regions and the search for creative principles that bring them into being; of the need to reconnect to regions where they belong; of how places are made after their stories. Somehow, this also needs to be embedded in rural design and the complex work of understanding Country-rural divides and connections and any possible new ways.

But the regions are creative assemblages that exercise care at a distance; they are poetic cobwebs where the interest is generation along the threads linking place to place. Regions considered like this are oceanic, waves forming in them spread to the edge of a collective dream.

Ground Truthing, Paul Carter, p 5

Posted in: ruraldesign