This platform is concerned with the exploration and adaptation of matter that can be considered, outdated, redundant or obsolete: material that has lost its value, resources that are considered waste, stuff that is considered expendable has been discarded and is considered surplus. These processes of depredation may have been enacted through economic, value-based processes, or by extraordinary one-off means such as fire, flood and devastation. All situations have in common the proposition that an obsolete environment or element, is not only a site of depredation, it is a condition for mediation, and the site of the enactment of research and design processes that will ensure that meaningful change through reuse will take place. Reuse participants are obsessed with adapting the unwanted, the discarded and the no longer fit-for-purpose. They are fascinated with determining new life in objects and spaces that are often considered to be spoil.
CONTEXT: THE POST-COVID COASTAL TOWN
‘Coastal communities, the villages, towns and cities of England’s coast, include many of the most beautiful, vibrant and historically important places in the country. They also have some of the worst health outcomes in England, with low life expectancy and high rates of many major diseases’
Chris Witty, Chief Medical Officer. Health in Coastal Cities Report 2021 Last year interior reuse looked at the centre of our lives the home. This year it expands its remit to explore the cities and towns in which our homes are based. But, it will focus its attentions on a particular type of urban condition: the coastal town and in particular, Lowestoft. COVID-19 has accelerated the challenges that all town centres were beginning to face. Changing consumer behaviour, outdated and disconnected public realms, a limited range of leisure and social offers and of course the impact upon the health of its occupants were all factors advanced rapidly by the pandemic. The impact of these challenges on the coastal town was increased via the fact that whilst often situated in beautiful locations, many are facing significant long-term challenges. There are many reasons for the challenging conditions in coastal communities. The pleasant environment attracts older, retired citizens to settle, who inevitably have more and increasing health problems. An oversupply of guest housing has led to Houses of Multiple Occupation which have led to concentrations of deprivation and ill health. The sea is a benefit but also a barrier: attracting NHS and social care staff to peripheral areas is harder, catchment areas for health services are artificially foreshortened and transport is often limited, in turn limiting job opportunities. Many coastal communities were created around a single industry such as previous versions of tourism, or fishing, or port work that have since moved on, meaning work can often be scarce or seasonal. In essence, the coastal city, town and village is often overlooked because it may be a pleasant place to visit by the sea but this situation conceals significant population and urban issues. These issues have been significantly amplified by the pandemic.
Professor Graeme Brooker