Marginal Landscapes This book reveals the layered richness in untidy marginal landscapes – abandoned places, derelict industrial sites, easements for overhead powerlines, railway sidings and so on. It is divided into four parts, Remembering, Forgetting, Accepting and Re-Enchanting. The first part, Remembering, explores the landscapes of our childhood focusing on marginal areas where children develop independence through play and adventures away from adult surveillance.
The second part, Forgetting, consists of two chapters. Chapter Two looks at the city of spectacles and how urban spectacles facilitate a ‘culture of forgetting’. Chapter Three looks at urban amnesia and the fear of remembering. It explores the ambivalence of nostalgia, the uncanny shadow-lands, and the silent forces in the landscape. It also shows how marginal and disturbing landscapes can bring about resilience in the urban dweller, suggesting these are possible sites for ‘deep dwelling’.
This leads into Part Three, Accepting, which looks at the positive aspects of marginal lands. Chapter Four discusses dereliction and beauty. Chapter Five looks at how marginal landscapes are being used in Europe and Detroit as places for optimistic urban change and the new ways abandoned urban lands are becoming urban farms and forests. Chapter Six reveals the new ecological awareness about wastelands and describes some artist projects on post-industrial sites. Chapter Seven talks about the new activist culture of ‘walking the city’, describing the inspiring activities of current European and British groups who highlight the value of marginal landscapes through dérive-like walking.
Part Four, Re-Enchanting, describes how some Sydney marginal waterfronts can become re-enchanted through designs for the re-vitalisation of maritime industry using old infrastructure and new forms of alchemy.
To summarise, marginal landscapes are essential for a rounded childhood. They are also important for a balanced adult life. We have increasingly protected ourselves from engaging with disturbing marginal places as we foster the culture of forgetting through spectacle in our cities. But these uncanny places will not allow us to forget because they have important messages for us. We need to release ourselves from the cottonwool protection of current urban life and be brave enough to engage in the particular beauty of marginal lands. This book shows that not only are these places beautiful, they are also places that can encourage us to develop a different sustainable future as engaged citizens; innovative, caring, and unwilling to slip into complacency.