terrains vagues – to use or not to use?

by cindy

i really enjoyed the christensen reading/documentation about big box reuse.  apart from the general distress i felt when thinking about the impact of these stores on our landscapes, spaces, economies, culture, and sense of aesthetics, i did find it inspiring that reuse very often involved solutions that somehow strengthened the notion of community, spirituality and/or learning in some way.

it got me thinking about all of the terrain vagues across the U.S. that are not actively being used for whatever reason.  detroit has long been held up as urban decay’s cautionary tale – what happens to an urban ecosystem when decentralized spraw renders the center a ghetto and no manner of re-use or gentrification can find a solution (i think the most recent solution proposed by detroit’s urban planners is to simply reclaim all of the terrains vagues by plowing them under and re-introducing giant green spaces to the center of the city.)

meanwhile, documentation of this urban decay is very popular with photographers.  many strangely beautiful, sometimes almost fetishised images are the result.

some images by photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre:

and a few images by photographer andrew moore:



  jessica wrote @

Here’s an interesting article sent to me awhile back on this very subject of fetishized images of urban decay – “Detroitism” by John Patrick Leary – he calls it “ruin porn.”

  99hooker wrote @

wow – evocative photos

  99hooker wrote @

You probably know Piranesi



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