The central focus of this proposal is to address the preservation and development of towns along the Downeast coast of Maine through design. Following the recent cutbacks in commercial fishing in the Gulf of Maine, there is much doubt over the stability and longevity of fishing communities up and down the coast. As fishing was the original reason behind the colonization of New England, the collapse of the fishing industry will not only leave families without work, but also cause massive depopulation in rural Maine, and destroy the coastal towns which are an irreplaceable part of our state’s identity. So we face three problems; the altered ecology of the Gulf, unemployment, and the loss of our independence and tradition. If as conservationists say, we can no longer rely on the ocean for prosperity, I believe that the solution to these problems is to be found by addressing the fishing town, and its relation to the now depleted sea.
In Cobscook Bay, there have already begun efforts to mass produce cod, the original staple harvest of the Gulf, through aquaculture. The potential for growth in this industry is potentially massive, however as with launching any new industry, the risks involved in increasing production are huge. This project posits that large scale fish farming is the way forward for cod production in Maine, but also that it alone is not great enough to restore vitality to fishing communities on its own. The solution lies in diversifying the industries present in the fishing town itself. Not only phasing in aquaculture to replace commercial fishing, but bolstering its development by incorporating tourism, education, and green energy production into the way that towns are developed in the future.
This project is a proposed hybrid fish farm and tourist destination, a sort of sea ranch, where the town’s identity can remain that of a working community, but also take advantage of the publicity and revenue that can be generated by tourism. This project is meant to serve as a model for future planning, inspiration for the redevelopment of the Downeast, and to show what can be achieved through imaginative design.
For the full introduction to the project, read a preview of the introduction to the finished book in the link below: