Make USE/Ruralized

by Axel Högberg
Marco Casagrande
Sollefteå (Sweden)

Make USE/Ruralized is a project aiming to change our perspective of how town/city development can be done outside our current economical system. Using the concept of degrowth the empty urban buildings of Sollefteå will give room for something new

View of the transformation hub

The project: Make USE discusses the topics of depopulation and climate change in hope of finding ways of development outside our current economical system, based on growth.

As an investigation, the project aims to see how a ruralization of the town Sollefteå would look like, basically shrinking the town center by mounting down empty facilities. The liberated plots of land can be used in new purposes following the concept of degrowth. The materials from the old buildings could be used by the local inhabitants to make new structures or renovate existing ones.

Make USE is a local material chain for reusing materials. In the chain we have The transformation hub (material storage & workshops); to collect the building mass efficiently, reuse it and make new structures from it. If there would be an abundance of bricks or windows, this could be sold to other parts of Sweden where it is needed.

During the project I realized how detached we are to resources and materials. The question arose: How can the human interaction with reusable materials improve and manifest in a physical form? How can one convince people to reuse and utilize local materials instead of buying new? Will people start investing in their existing buildings if building materials are free? Could this be a way to attract newcomers to depopulated towns, and give them an opportunity to take part in a rural living