Share Your Point of View: Urban Wilds and Unclaimed Landscapes

by John Gibbs, ASLA, Jill Desimini, ASLA, and Susan Moffat

Urban wilds
Left to right: Former Beltline Railroad Switching Yard, Alameda, CA, Rivka Weinstock; Mount Sutro, San Francisco, CA, Peter Trio; Former Reading Viaduct, Philadelphia, PA, Joshua Ketchum

In anticipation of the upcoming panel Urban Wild! Making the Case for Our Unclaimed Landscapes with Jill Desimini and Susan Moffat, facilitated by John Gibbs, at the ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego, we’d like to hear from you about your experiences in urban wilds and unclaimed landscapes.

How can you get involved? Post a photo on Instagram or Twitter of an urban wild that you care about or have spent time in. Tell us about it! What makes it unique? What was it formerly? Is it under threat in any way? Use #UrbanWildASLA and #ASLA2019 and make sure to include the location. (If on Instagram, we will only be able to see the post if your account is public.)

What will happen with this information? Your photos will be mapped and featured at this year’s ASLA conference at the panel on urban wilds.

What do we hope to learn? Since these places tend to go unmapped, by gathering and mapping these, we hope to gain greater insight into geography, patterns of use and typology of urban wilds across the country. What are some commonalities between them? What makes these places unique? Why are they important?

What do we hope to spark? A timely conversation about the place of urban wilds within our larger urban framework. How are these spaces different than parks? What can designers learn from urban wild landscapes and how they function? How should we respond to shifting patterns of abandoned land in our cities?

Wait, what IS an urban wild? You tell us! Sometimes these places are also called ‘vacant’, ‘abandoned’, ‘brownfield’, ‘forgotten’, ‘free’, ‘site taken over by wildlife,’ etc.

Join the conversation!

Follow us on Instagram @urbanwildasla to see what urban wilds others are posting!

Follow us on Instagram @urbanwildasla to see what urban wilds others are posting!

If you’ve not yet registered for the 2019 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture in San Diego this November, October 16 is the advanced rate deadline—don’t miss it!

One thought on “Share Your Point of View: Urban Wilds and Unclaimed Landscapes

  1. Stan Clauson, AICP, ASLA September 9, 2019 / 1:30 pm

    Apropos of urban wilds, see the attached article on a huge failed subdivision in Madison, Wisconsin. As a graduate student in the 1970s, I remember walking through the Arboretum woods and marveling that there were traces of concrete roads under the leaves and brush. At the time I was working on a doctorate in Comparative Literature, and later switched careers to become a landscape architect and planner. I’m sure that the Lost City had some subliminal effect!

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