Author: Christie Ellis-Wong

FUTURE HERITAGE FOR MILLWOOD: Sustainable Place-making in Suburban Nova Scotia

Studio: MArch Thesis

Advisors: Mariana Esponda and Susan Ross

Year: 2019-2020

Project Description

Though late twentieth-century residential suburbs may be “environmental and economic disasters,” they also hold cultural significance; could these communities be rehabilitated, as Edmund P. Fowler suggests, to become “nodes and neighbourhoods cherished by future generations” – in short, future heritage sites? (Fowler, 2007)
Physically, a first step toward building for future heritage might be to build for longevity. Philosophically, future heritage might entail creating places deeply embedded in their context, reflective of the time and place of their inception. Perhaps more important is to design for people – because ultimately, it is the community and the life lived in a site that will give it a story to tell the future. The approach toward future heritage in this thesis has been one of sustainable place-making, of building in the present to engage both the past and the future of the site.
The Millwood subdivision appears mundane; however, the area’s complex relationship with cars, its long-abused river system, and the disappearing threads of its historic past are among the unique challenges and opportunities in rehabilitating this neighbourhood. A series of multi-scalar interventions, driven by community objectives and value-potential, serve to uphold the primacy of place, even in the face of apparent placelessness.