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      Paradoxical Idylls: Post-industrial Ruinscapes and Pre-industrial Arcadias

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          Abstract

          The re-greening of post-industrial sites creates distinct landscapes, perhaps a new form of idyllic retreat. For example, Duisburg Nord Landscape Park in the Ruhr, Germany, is a 230-hectare site on which redundant industrial structures have been preserved and in some cases given new leisure uses, surrounded by a decontaminated landscape combining natural (succession) regrowth with new planting. The outcome is a landscape which reconciles a past of exploitation and pollution (but also of work) with a greener future; but this seemingly happy state masks the site’s histories and conflicting contexts. And while the re-greening of such sites denotes the end of Europe’s industrial era, the beginning of that era – in England in the eighteenth century – was also marked by what was then a new kind of landscape: the landscaped park. In both cases, natural growth is shaped by human artifice to produce vistas and views. In one, focal points are provided by statues and fake ruins; in the other, by the relics of an industrial past. A series of paradoxes emerges: the past in the present (or the present reconfigured as a past); nature reconfigured as culture (or culture in the form of natural growth); and a narrative of time and place which is not exactly what it seems. But do wastelands transformed into post-modern idylls reconcile or merely erase the industrial past? Does the glimpse of arcadia they offer represent escapism, or a better post-industrial world?

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          Most cited references 4

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          The Elysian Fields of Rousham

           D Coffin (1986)
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            The Sky Above and the Ground Below

             D. GANS,  D Gans (2004)
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              Vague Parks: The politics of late twentieth-century urban landscapes

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                06 February 2019
                2019
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Independent Scholar, GB
                Article
                10.16995/olh.165
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                Imaginaries of the future 02: politics, poetics, place

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