Rising From The Ashes

Community & Co-design
by Stuart Scobie

Fire has the capacity to be both destroyer and regenerator. This summer of despair in our region has seen lives lost; homes and infrastructure destroyed; bush and wildlife incinerated.

Permeating through the ever-present smoke haze has been the high toll on the residents within our communities. Loss, pain, fear, confusion, anger and overwhelming sadness have poured out of these relentless bushfire emergencies. In a recent blog Mark highlighted how “architecture is a repository of memory” and how its loss can affect our sense of mastery over the world.

Alongside these achingly raw emotions has surfaced equally incredible stories of resilience, heroism, tireless commitment and simple human kindness. From these extraordinary acts has arisen hope. The hope for rebuilding homes, lives and communities.

While for the majority, the act of rebuilding is still a monumental task at the forefront of their minds, for others it is an opportunity to regain some of that lost mastery. In a recent Landscape Australia article reflecting on the 2009 Black Saturday fires, Landscape Architect Tim Hart implored readers to “be open and to listen” advising that, “reconstruction should be a positive part of the recovery, but will only be so if people listen to those affected”.

At Edmiston Jones, because we live and work in our region, we have felt the impact of the South Coast bushfires directly and have listened to the stories of our neighbours, our friends and our wider community. We have been there with our communities preparing, bracing for the onslaught and then cleaning up afterwards. Now we are ready to listen and to help. Through ‘Architect Assist’ we are offering our services with the potential for these to be pro bono to those in need.

Over the months and years ahead we see there will be an enormous amount of hard, physical and emotional work required to heal and rebuild our communities. We can do what we do best which is to listen and provide professional advice on the rebuilding process and how to navigate its complexities. We all have a role to play in the region building on our strong sense of community and rising from the ashes of this summer of despair


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