Blackpool Frack City
Blackpool Frack City
While neglecting 27,000 objections, breaching five planning policies, and delaying the release of unredacted environmental documents, construction of a fracking rig in Blackpool, with over 5.6 trillion cubic metres of shale gas, is currently on site today.
Blackpool Frack City is
fundamentally an investigation into the polarised debate and effects of
fracking. Specifically, the gap
which exists between the reality of our present energy situation and the
reality of current policies.
How is policy instrumentalised and breached to transform landscapes and the infrastructure needed to sustain or remediate them?
As energy requirements throughout the UK are growing exponentially, there is an unavoidable necessity for a self-sufficient energy industry, triggered by national policies such as the Climate Change Act (2008) and Infrastructure Act (2015). This has caused the government to turn its fledging to the onshore gas industry - British Shale. With over 5.6 trillion cubic metres of shale gas beneath Lancashire, Preston New Road in Blackpool is currently at the centre of this polarised debate on fracking.
Blackpool Frack City attempts to reimagine Blackpool by proposing a slippage between set up scenarios: a utopian reality where the built environment inhibits the current policy from being implemented and a dystopian reality where effects of fracking have created environmental uncertainty and instability in Blackpool.
Set in a future where government interests have made fracking the main industry in Lancashire, this thesis proposes a new landscape to be incorporated in Blackpool’s local plan - A landscape that requires a reimagined vernacular, its cultural influence, aesthetic, materiality and architecture.
Blackpool Frack City explores a shale-gas reindustrialisation of the countryside vernacular, where various landscape strategies are implemented to either facilitate, remediate or ratify the effects of fracking. The design methodology works along a double agency: each strategy implemented works to facilitate fracking, breaching policy in the process, which in turn inhibits the construction of fracking rigs to begin with. These include phytoremediation strategies to extract toxins from the soil, planting of poplar trees to form natural seismic barriers and re-using of waste fracking fluid. Furthermore, this new form of mining will also shape the landscape through the abundance of infrastructure needed to sustain the fracking process. Temporary deployable accommodation is built for the influx of miners’ and seismic retrofitting of existing buildings is implemented to mitigate earthquakes. Hemp will assume a new of force of power as a plant species involved in restoring the fractured landscape by remediating the soil and forming the main construction material for new housing for its valuable properties. Through exposing the sheer scale of the fracking infrastructure and envisioning the 3m pipelines, 14,000 truck movements and waste fluid pits, the magnitude of the development acts as a deterrent.
In deconstructing and making current policy on fracking visible, another way of thinking about Blackpool’s landscape becomes possible - one that looks at its history as well as current trends, where a proposed future landscape challenges an unjust decision-making process and an environment traded for economic gain, and reads their tension instead as a driver of policy amendments and spatial transformation.
School of Architecture
MA Architecture, 2017
+44 (0)7840 024361
- BSc (Hons) Architecture with Engineering, 2013
- Foster + Partners, London, 2014; Allies and Morrison, London, 2013
- Hubert Sans Memorial Prize, Architecture, 2013