Modern lifestyle has an indispensable relationship with resource extraction. From communication to a wide range of consumption behaviors, many aspects of our daily lives heavily rely on smartphone usage, and these devices can consist up to 17 rare earth elements.

Rare Earth Element (REE) plays a vital role in contributing to the production and development of these smart devices. In addition, the demand for rare earth elements can be divided into three levels of usage: domestic lifestyle application, daily commuting infrastructure, and national security and defense mechanism. However, when it comes to the aspect of national security, the U.S. government will seek for alternative measures to maintain the rare earth inventory that sustains national consumption.

david zielnicki

The project urges for a rethink of our dependency on REE and proposes responsive intervention through an alternative extraction methodology, to ultimately achieve the goal of ‘extracting locally, consuming locally’. Using Charlotte, North Carolina as a pilot region, the project explores the potential of establishing a new ‘coexisting model’ that can utilize landscape mediation and reconfiguration techniques to resolve the interface issues between the operations and extraction of rare earth mine and a city. Located in the southwestern region of the state of North Carolina, the County of Mecklenburg the first county to surpass a million in population, making it the second most populated region in North Carolina. It also sits the famous city of Charlotte.