Matthew Gandy – Marginalia: Cultural and Scientific Aspects of Urban Wastelands

Lecture date: 2012-11-05

History and Theory Studies Lecture Series

Wastelands are a characteristic feature of many urban and industrial landscapes. Although the term ‘wasteland’ has become widely subsumed within various utilitarian discourses concerning the redevelopment or redesign of ostensibly empty or unproductive spaces, the idea encompasses a multiplicity of meanings, material origins and ecological characteristics. It is suggested that a more theoretically nuanced and historically grounded conception of the intersections between critical cultural discourses and recent advances in urban ecology might provide a useful counterpoint to narrowly utilitarian approaches to urban nature.

Matthew Gandy is Professor of Geography at University College London and was director of the UCL Urban Laboratory from 2005 to 2011. His books include Concrete and Clay (The MIT Press) and most recently the edited collection Urban Constellations (Jovis). His essays have appeared in many international journals including Architectural Design, New Left Review, and Society and Space.

This is the first of the History and Theory Studies lecture series, organised by Mark Cousins, Mollie Claypool and Ryan Dillon.

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