Urban Wildscapes is one of the first edited collections of writings about urban ‘wilderness’ landscapes. Evolved, rather than designed or planned, these derelict, abandoned and marginal spaces are frequently overgrown with vegetation and host to a wide range of human activities. They include former industrial sites, landfill, allotments, cemeteries, woods, infrastructural corridors, vacant lots and a whole array of urban wastelands at a variety of different scales. Frequently maligned in the media, these landscapes have recently been re-evaluated and this collection assembles these fresh perspectives in one volume.
Combining theory with illustrated examples and case studies, the book demonstrates that urban wildscapes have far greater significance, meaning and utility than is commonly thought, and that an appreciation of their particular qualities can inform a far more sustainable approach to the planning, design and management of the wider urban landscape.
The wildscapes under investigation in this book are found in diverse locations throughout the UK, Europe, China and the US. They vary in scale from small sites to entire cities or regions, and from discrete locations to the imaginary wildscapes of children’s literature. Many different themes are addressed including the natural history of wildscapes, their significance as a location for all kinds of playful activity, the wildscape as ‘commons’ and the implications for landscape architectural practice, ranging from planting interventions in wildscapes to the design of the urban public realm on wildscape principles.
Table of Contents
Foreword – The Wild Side of Town. Introduction Part 1 1. Learning from Detroit or ‘The Wrong Kind of Ruins’ 2. Appreciating Urban Wildscapes: Towards a Natural History of Unnatural Places 3. Places to be Wild in Nature 4. Playing in Industrial Ruins: Interrogating Teleological Understandings of Play in Spaces of Material Alterity and Low Surveillance 5. Nature, Nurture; Danger, Adventure; Junkyard, Paradise:The Role of Wildscapes in Children’s Literature Part 2 6. Brown Coal, Blue Paradise: The Restoration of Opencast Coal Mines in Lusatia, Germany 7. Wildscape in Shanghai: A Case Study of the Houtan Wetland Park – Expo 2010 Shanghai 8. Christiania Copenhagen – a Common Out of the Ordinary 9. The River Don as a Linear Urban Wildscape 10. Enhancing Ruderal Perennials in Manor Fields Park, Sheffield: A New Park on the ‘Bandit Lands’ of Urban Green Space Dereliction 11. Pure Urban Nature – Nature-Park Südgelände Berlin 12. Upstaging Nature: Art in Sydenham Hill Wood Part 3 13. Buried Narratives 14. Taming the Wild: Gyllin’s Garden and the Urbanization of a Wildscape 15. Disordering Public Space: Urban Wildscape Processes in Practice 16.Anti-Planning, Anti-Design? Exploring Alternative Ways of Making Future Urban Landscapes
Anna Jorgensen is a Lecturer in Landscape Architecture in the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on the meanings and benefits of urban green and open spaces, and she is especially interested in woodland and other urban ‘wilderness’ landscapes. She is an Associate Editor of Landscape Research.
Richard Keenan has spent the last nine years working on the communication of environmental and social issues both in marketing and communications and as an artist. He began working for a regional organization in Yorkshire in 2002 and left to set up Environment Room Ltd in 2005. After five years as Director, he moved on from the company and is now focusing on his artistic practices with the project The Museum of Now. The project incorporates photography, video, audio and physical installations, to raise questions about contemporary society.
"This book enriches the reader’s understanding of landscapes beyond the notions of wild or cultured, urban or rural, and can be recommended to everyone." - Ingrid Sarlöv Herlin, Landscape Research
“Combining theory with illustrated examples and case studies, the book demonstrates that urban wildscapes have far greater significance, meaning and utility than is commonly thought, and that an appreciation of their particular qualities can inform a far more sustainable approach to the planning, design and management of the wider urban landscape.” – Michael Smith , Green (Living) Review
"The book's mostly photographic illustrations reflect the contributors' purposeful avoidance of conventional design methods, including the drawing of site maps. They stress slow processes of popular input to arrive at solutions, resisting large-scale obliteration of wildscapes. These ideas often are at odds with governmental regulations and developers' short-term profit motives... Recommended" – CHOICE
"This book offers highly recommended reading for landscape professionals, as well as for urban planners and others interested in shaping more interesting and liveable cities." – Cecil C. Konijnendijk, Journal of Regional Science
"...an incredibly comprehensive study of the subject matter" – Pietra Basilij, Spacing Magazine
“...a fascinating and broad-ranging description of how urban wildscapes are being used (both formally and informally)...I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a professional interest - or more importantly a personal stake - in how we engage with the wilder places around us in urban areas” – Landscapism
"This book is a strong argument for how urban wildscapes can be seen not as negative but as informative, naturally occurring, 'a useful nexus' for responding to these challenges. As such, Jorgensen and Keenan were able to curate a dynamic collection of papers that help to resolve contemporary misconceptions and offer a unique and valuable interpretation of the urban wildscapes that surround us." – Ellen Ziegler, Spacing Vancouver
"...a seductive and enticing read" – Pip Wallace, Environmental Planning Programme, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Waikato, New Zealand
"Urban Wildscapes offers a vantage point on urbanism in which natural, rather than human, agency is the catalyst for transformation. The book is structured into here sections— theories, case studies and implications— with some 25 contributors reporting from the urban field." — Mason White, Domus