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Industrial Ruins & Assumptions

Lisa Marie's picture

When reading Chapter 4 of Urban Wildscapes, I kept reflecting on my own childhood and how I was socialized in an environment that mostly restricted play in the industrial ruins. Even when reading about the industrial ruins, I was thinking about the picture I had of what that looked like and how for much of my life, playing or even spending time in that type of space did not seem appealing as they "allow wide scope for activities prohibited or frowned upon in other urban public spaces" (66). However, as I was thinking more deeply about this, I recalled how as children, my brother and I played in a construction site behind our back yard that was composed of many mounds of dirt, some foundations, loose nails--it was certainly an unregulated space and could be charactierized as an industrial ruin. David and I created a make believe town which we invited our other neighbors to play in. We claimed this space as our own and together all of us played games and took on roles and characters of townspeople in this place. While this construction site was not as clean, colorful, regulated, and supervised as the park a few blocks from our house, it did allow us to put more of our own stamp on how we navigated and managed the space, as well as how we were able to use our imaginations. 

As I mentioned earlier, when initially reading this piece, I was had a picture in my mind of an unsafe, crime-ridden place that may have been displeasing to the eye. I soon realized though, that this picture had come from different assumptions I held, and that playing in an industrial ruin was a big and significant part of my own childhood. How can we convey the importance of these urban spaces that "can divert us to a recognition of the potential wildness and playfulness within managed urban areas"?