The Sámi of Guovdageaidnu carry a collective inheritance of enforced staticity and centralisation. If current municipality plans are failing to provide conditions for the productive city, it is because they privilege European and Norwegian ideals and fail to recognize underlying cultural mechanisms and traditional infrastructures as viable points of departure for future development and growth.
Nomadism and seasonal migration are key features of the traditional Sami way of life and undermines both the territorial configuration and ideational foundations of statehood. Yet despite the best efforts of the nation state to enforce their control over tax, language, natural resources, settlements and faith the population of Guovdageaidnu remain ideologically and culturally tied to the ebb and flow of the migrating seasons.
Guovdageaidnu as the productive city requires a radical reimagining of city as place and productivity as a neoclassical theory dependent on a dichotomy of ‘nature and culture’ and ‘people and things’. For while the notion of city is insufficient to the Sami notion of land, productivity viewed in terms of economic growth fails to recognise the landscape of Guovdageaidnu as an interactive space for individual and collective history, memories, livelihoods and production of identities.
Radical Reimagining answers in a very sensitive way to the special challenges of the site as articulated in the call. The proposal emphasizes the need to address the basic historic, territorial and political premises of the site as a main Sámi center grounded in reindeer herding. The proposal presents a solid analysis of the site and the region as dependent on larger fields of relations and patterns of domination and subordination, but also takes into consideration quotidian usages and interactions.
Based on an understanding of the landscape as contested, the proposal acknowledges the limits of conventional planning and architecture. It aims to identify new approaches to knowledge and experience that would enhance existing practices and support the development of new ones. Emphasizing the importance of listening to and linking histories, memories and livelihoods, it gently presents a series of ‘productive’ strategies and places – oral mapping and knowledge sharing, embodied encounters and symbolic ‘wrapping’ – which, rather than providing fixed solutions, offer points of departure for reimagining productivity as well as urbanity.
Radical Reimagining clearly recognizes the complexity of the site and related land use controversies, engagingly addressing the need to establish and maintain the links between nature and culture, the reindeer economy and the welfare institutions, cultural heritage and the challenges of tourism; all of which are conditioning forces of Guovdageaidnu. While the suggested implementations remain understated, they emphasize the need to advance with great sensitivity to the special circumstances of the site and the accumulated experience of its inhabitants, and include ideas on how micro–scale interventions can enhance already existing forms of production and expression, including the already ongoing comprehensive planning practices of Guovdageaidnu.
Ona Flindall (NO)
Marianne Lucie Skuncke (NO)
Marianne Lucie Skuncke