This thesis builds on the research started in 2015 by architecture students from the University of Antwerp and focuses on the revitalization of Moengo (Suriname). Moengo is founded around the Suralco steel company, benefitting from the resources of the territory: bauxite. The depletion of the mine made Suralco steel company close its activities in 2015, after which the city has been struggling with social and economic problems.
The thesis made the transition from theoretical research and analysis to action-driven research: where the first team launched ‘Community Based Tourism’ as a carrier for socio-economic redevelopment of Moengo, this team shifted the focus to operational actor network with ‘placemaking’ and ‘wayfinding’ as central themes.
The thesis starts with unveiling the history of Moengo in relation to the Suralco steel company, followed by a section about ‘de Waterkant’ (the Waterside) and one about ‘het Stafdorp’ (the Staff Village), illustrating design proposals –and projects- for the revitalization of Moengo.
De Waterkant is an area along the Cottica River, where action-driven research with the community and activists has generated an Opportunity Map with project proposals for entrepreneurs, the community, local activists or even students.
The research on Het Stafdorp of the bauxite mining company Suralco includes a heritage component with a historical, architectural and typological analyses, the determination of the cultural heritage values and a vision of the future. The staff village was included in Moengo’s original urban development plan designed by engineers Buchanan, Apell and Pommeren in 1919 and realised in 1920. It is designated to protect the area as a cultural heritage site, and currently owned by the Surinamese government.
Research is done of the living culture of the Maroons: life as it took place in the traditional organically grown villages and how this occurs in the rationally planned town Moengo. Finally, in the design research, a sustainable redevelopment of the staff village is designed,