Billiton as a hinge

Billiton as a hinge

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Pathways towards a sustainable future for Onverdacht, Suriname

Via pathways ‘past, present and future’, sustainable perspectives for the region are developed, by means of literature study, archive research, fieldwork, interviews and observations.

PAST – as it was - focusses on the history of the Billiton Maatschappij and the establishment of villages in a rural area at Onverdacht from 1939 until 2009 and formulates 3 research questions:

  1. How did the Billiton Company come into existence and grow into a multinational corporation?
  2. How did the Billiton Company and its entities develop in Suriname?
  3. What causes were behind the departure of the Billiton Maatschappij from Suriname?

The first research question will address the origins of the Billiton Maatschappij in Indonesia and Suriname. By examining and framing the complete history of the Billiton Maatschappij, insights will be gained into how this multinational brings development to former rural areas. The second research question further focuses on the Billiton story in Suriname, more specifically - after a rather general introduction - a clear overview will be given of the emergence and growth of the various entities; largely developed by the BMS. These entities are plantations Onoribo and Onverdacht, village East, the factory complex, the first Stafdorp and village West. The final research question addresses the causes of the Billiton Company's departure from Suriname, what happened to the remaining infrastructure, and how the rehabilitation of depleted mines is handled.

PRESENT – as it is- discusses the current potential of the area, by examining urban (t)issues after the departure of BMS, and researching on the architectures of life and work by formulating 4 research questions:

  1. What are the consequences of the departure of the Billiton Company from Suriname?
  2. Which architectural typologies are recognizable in the research area?
  3. Which living environment qualities characterize the research area?
  4. Which values constitute the potential of the research area?

FUTURE – as it could be- proposes interventions in village West by answering 2 questions:

  1. How can the residential area continue to develop in a sustainable manner?
  2. In what way can connecting the research area strengthen the local potential?

These interventions include the development of junctions at each entity, a market as a socio-cultural connection and the elaboration of walking and cycling options. Creating connections between the different entities in this research area is a first step towards a sustainable future.

  • Authors:
    • Sarah Adriaenssens
    • Siel Leemans
    • Yentl Wulteputte

    • Johan De Walsche (Promotor)
    • Dirk Laporte (Promotor)
    • Marleen Goethals (Co-promotor)
    • Marciano Dasai (Co-promotor)
  • Period:
    • 2019 — 2020  

    • Interdisciplinary

    • Master thesis

    • Anton De Kom Universiteit