Not all of our projects are local. For the last month, we’ve been working alongside a number of parties in the curation and framing of a body of research into ‘edge’ conditions in ‘edge-states.’
The liminal (and near) nations of Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Somaliland have a chequered history of collaboration. Drawn together by a shared inability to gain all but the most cursory recognition from the UN, and consolidated into a sort of loose body of mutual co-operation and support, they remain marked by stark political, geographic and demographic differences. Transnistria is defined by a heavily industrialised economy, but mounting debts and a slowly dwindling population; Somaliland is marked by rapid population growth and some of the few functioning public institutions in the broader Horn-of-africa region.
Nevertheless, the states’ existence outside of established UN and transnational frameworks means that there are no working groups in geneva, no interrogative bodies in the hague, to deal with such issues. Their experiences with growth and decline must nescessarily happen on the ‘edge.’ This realisation has cohered the first collaborative council between these polities – the first council on ‘edge-urbanism’ in ‘edge-states’ – in Azeri, Tanınmamış dövlətlərin şəhər artım, or TADOSA.
While the initial seed funding has been provided by Azerbaijan (and this merits speculation around the absence of that other break-away province, Nagorno-Karabakh) the project is facilitated through the principle universities in each participating nation, as well as close collaboration with a panel of international architects and urbanists.
Owing, in part, to Godsell & Corrigan’s experience with liminal and peripheral states, we were invited to participate in the first architectural advisory council. For all their ‘edge’ nature – urban, social and architectural issues in these environments have very real implications and lessons for local problematics. There is a current paucity of material on the project website, but much of the contemporary research can be accessed from the website of the participating institutions, and we aim to showcase this as the collaboration continues.