Heal the Scar

“When we turn to reuse and redesign of previously destroyed landscapes, we may find surprising, sometimes unimaginable possibilities emerging”1.

Stage 1

Various quarry and mine sites in the state of Victoria, as well as in Australia and around the world, are being rapidly exhausted and require closure and rehabilitation to prevent ongoing environmental damage. These sites are leaving behind gaping scars in the landscape, and their closures have led to major economic and social impacts on nearby communities.

Stage 1 of the Heal the Scar research project aims at establishing a framework for a holistic model that will help to regenerate these sites in the best possible way, and holistically enrich both the site and the surrounding environment and communities.

The Alcoa site in Anglesea, Victoria, which was closed in mid-2015, was used as a pilot site for testing the theoretical framework of the regenerative-adaptive model. Similar to other sites across Australia and the world, a resolution has yet to be found to deal with these sites and surrounding communities in an integral manner that considers the ongoing complexities of establishing a resilient and continuing, regenerative-adaptive future.

Drawing upon industry partner collaboration with Grimshaw Architects, the research involved the investigation of potential long-term ecological, economic, social and cultural sustainable rehabilitation options for the pilot study site at Anglesea.

Led by Dr Phill Roös, the research team used the Regenerative-Adaptive Design Model (Roös, 2017) in combination with the four-quadrant IDF framework, as a guide to investigate the individual and collective (societal) aspects of potential rehabilitation propositions, as well as quantitative performance criteria (both at local and regional scale) to investigate integrated social, cultural, economic and environmental sustainability possibilities for the future.

As a result, three hypothetical future scenarios for the Anglesea site were proposed and include:

  1. Restoration – which is the minimum work needed to return the site to its natural environment and restore current ecological systems including creek flows into the Anglesea River.
  2. Regeneration – which includes the restoration plus further cultural heritage elements such as a Wadawurrung Indigenous cultural centre to share learnings about caring for Country.
  3. Adaptation – which adds to restoration and regeneration by developing the land for sustainable community ventures such as food production in a high performance solar powered greenhouse system that effectively creates a closed loop system (cradle to cradle) for energy and food production.

Stage 2

Using the outcomes of stage 1, the research in stage 2 aims to further develop and potentially test a GIS based digital dynamic scenario model focused on regeneration, going beyond rehabilitation. The core difference being that regeneration results in an ongoing, continuously evolving system that regenerates its environment, people, and place. This regenerative-adaptive scenario model will be unique and provide the possibility to test and visually represent different scenarios of future outcomes based on different decisions made for rehabilitation and development.

Artist impression of hypothetical Scenario 2 - Regeneration (Source: Live+Smart Research Laboratory & Grimshaw Architects, 2019

Project team (stage 1)

Deakin University School of Architecture and Built Environment

Dr Phillip B. Roös
Project Lead & Regenerative Design
Professor David Jones
Cultural & Land-use Planning
Mr Josh Zeunert
Landscape Architecture

Deakin University Faculty of Science, Engineering & Built Environment, and School of Psychology, Faculty of Health

Dr Arlene Walker 
Social Psychology and Wellbeing
Dr David Halliwell
Stakeholder Engagement
Professor Carol Boyle
Infrastructure and Engineering
Dr Tim Tutt
Aquatic Chemistry

External partners

Mr Neil Stonell
Architecture - Grimshaw
Ms Alison Potter
Associate - Grimshaw
Mr Peter Spence
Architecture - Grimshaw
Mr Matt Baida
Mine Site Rehabilitation – Independent, Sweden
Mr Dennis Williamson
Ecology and Environment Impacts – Geoscene International
Dr Murray Herron
Spatial GIS Analysis and Mapping - Independent
Mr Chuck Donley
Spatial GIS Analysis and Mapping – Donley & Associates, USA

1 Kuhn, R 2012 Redesigning wounded landscape - the IBA workshop in Lusatia, Jovia Verlag GmbH, Berlin, p. 6