In 2016, a group of MA and PhD students from The Centre for Research Architecture embarked upon an investigation into the proposed mining of Rare Earths, which affected great extensions of land in La Mancha, Spain. Using their collective skills and insights, the students mapped, modeled and visualized the physicalities of the project, thus demonstrating the potential impacts that such rare earth element (REE) extraction would have upon the region. Of particular effectiveness was the re-configuration into visual language of the systemic, abstract data used by the mining industry to measure the territory affected. The maps that resulted from this process were shown in 20 Spanish towns and villages affected by the mining, and published in national newspapers. The tools created by the students had the effect of promoting wider public participation in the many key discussions that took place in Spain, this ultimately helped to thwart the project, which was eventually blocked in October 2018 due to social opposition.
Articles in El País and Le Monde contain further information on REEs
Image © Plataforma Sí a la Tierra Viva