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Post-Industrial

“In wastelands we see the belligerent disruption of the natural course of events either through a disaster or the gradual wasting that effaces the luster of progress.  The temporal dimensions are often geologic in their scale.  The growth of a landfill forms layers and epochs, and its future can seem limitless.  When the deposition on landfills stops, and they are capped for indeterminate afterlives, the wasteland becomes a sublimated and buried history.

Fenced and removed from the center of daily life, many waste sites, in a sense, exist out of time.”

– Matthew Potteiger and Jamie Purinton, Landscape Narratives : Design Practices for Telling Stories. p. 216

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Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord

“No one says Duisburg is lovely,” laughed my host who had grown up in the area.  Yet, to someone who spent years wandering around the abandoned grain mills of Buffalo, New York, the city of Duisburg, Germany not only has a working class atmosphere that is genuine and approachable, but also an antiquity not found in many much younger American cities.  Additionally, Duisburg is home to a significant and unique amenity of the late 20th century: a 220 hectare (543 acres) industrial park, Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord.

Landschaftspark was developed from 1990 – 2002 as part of a larger redevelopment project, the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Emscher Park, which spans 450 kilometers (280 miles) of defunct industrial landscapes in the Ruhr Valley.  The IBA Emscher Park project was aimed at re-imagining the industrial heritage of this region in a way that would attempt to clean up some of the environmental damage caused by industry and invite a new image of progressive ecological and social engagement for the valley.

Landschaftspark set a precedent in site re-development by retaining its historic ironworks structures while also introducing public recreation and a complex landscape plan.   Alongside the former industrial structures are both ruderal species that have taken over more or less on their own accord as well as obviously designed gardens and pathways.

As one of the most talked about projects of post-industrial regional and site rehabilitation, there are countless analyses, critiques, and historic accounts of Landschaftspark. Without too much effort one can find out about the competition that kick-started the project or the designer Latz and Partner’s contribution to ideas of “minimal intervention” or the project’s experimental foray into phytoremediation.  As someone keenly interested in the history, ecology, and social value of derelict sites and their potential transformation, I was eager to visit Landschaftspark to gain a first-hand understanding of how it has settled into itself nearly twenty-five years after the project began.

Continue reading “Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord”

NYT: “In Toronto, Looking to the Future in an Abandoned Park”

An article from the New York Times on September 23, 2016 by Chris Harmon highlights a week-long exhibition curated by the group Art Spin that uses artists to re-envision and re-populate a former theme park to the future.

“Our city, over the course of the last ten years or so, has been going through incredible, unprecedented development,” Mr. Pimenta said.  “Our industrial history is literally disappearing in front of our eyes.  What we do provides an opportunity, fleeting as it might be, to intervene and reimagine those spaces.”

Link to the full article here

 

 

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