If you don’t appreciate the beauty of a derelict building or a vacant block of land left to run wild, you will after reading this book. Urban Wildscapes explores abandoned and marginal spaces that have evolved, rather than been designed or planned. Former industrial sites, landfill, cemeteries and vacant lots – many overgrown with vegetation and host to a range of activities – are investigated in case studies that combine theory with illustrated examples. These examples show that urban wildscapes are of greater significance to communities than is often thought, and that an understanding of them can inform a more sustainable approach to the management of the wider urban landscape.
Interestingly, Urban Wildscapes includes a chapter that looks at the way children’s books have used landscape to develop characters and support the idea of adventure. It makes the point that while children’s literature encourages adventurous play in unkempt wildscapes, in reality, many children face barriers when attempting to access such spaces. Wildscape case studies include the Houtan Wetland Park – Expo 2010 in Shanghai and The River Don in England.
Edited by Anna Jorgensen and Richard Keenan, Routledge, paperback, 2011, 256 pages. RRP $69.