Injured Landscapes: Reuse and Recycle, 1st ‘Landscape En-Route’ International Seminar

Injured Landscapes: Reuse and Recycle, 1st ‘Landscape En-Route’ International Seminar


Faculté d’Architecture Université de Liège, 5-8 October 2014, Liège, Belgium
25 Maggio 2014 | | id:1549

First Landscape-En Route Seminar: the new series of UNISCAPE seminars on the move. Their aim is to confront landscape issues of European relevance in their specific physical landscapes and create opportunities for dialogue between a European-wide academic community and local landscape actors.



Call for Abstracts (full text here):

deadline submissions 7 July 2014

Analysing the landscape changes in the Meuse valley in the area of the Liège conurbation (Belgium), several general themes emerge:
– the evolution of landscapes undergoing rapid industrialization and deindustrialization;
– hydro-morphology and underground natural resources as active factors of transformation;
– urban artifacts and productive landscape as new unusual places leading to a paradigm shift in
reinterpreting the concepts of re-use and re-cycling.

The transformation of the rural world, supplanted by industrialization, itself now in the process of disappearing, represents a spatiotemporal process of dis-location, dis-junction and dis-tance which, for the French philosopher B. Goetz evokes a general state of loss to be connected with the break or the deep modification of links to identity, memory, time and space. If the 20th century produced the idea of consumable landscapes, the 21th century is assuming the responsibilities of re-covery, re-association, re-mediation and relaunch.

The seminar intends to face prospective questions which emanate from forgotten or neglected landscapes, damaged by previous exploitations which left their marks: roads, borders, polluted lands, buildings, garbage, grouping of buildings, flat or hilly fallow lands, etc. All are ordinary landscapes, often located outside the streams of production of economic wealth. These contexts deserve a new interest, in a projective attitude towards a new landscape perspective that move beyond the attitudes of protection, reassurance, preservation, and promoting no further purpose.

We are interested to look at how the practices of reading places from existing landscape characters create new perspectives, establishing what the Italian geographer De Matteis calls “implicit projects”. Solutions are often searched for through external factors, but appear to emerge more and more from in situ components. The seminar calls for the re-energisation of already used injured landscapes, starting from their spatiotemporal potential to suggesting new readings and writings, moving forward with projects and awareness-raising activities in order to produce “new significant chains” (U. Eco).

The seminar offers a platform of exchange where participants can compare multiple methods combining, understanding and intervening on the landscape, for instance through action-research or project-driven research. Topics will address methods of landscape reading, interpretative dialectic, techniques, times,awareness-raising activities, and to conclude the place and role of the project approach.


1. LANDSCAPE and MEMORY: trace, time, future of the past
The metaphor of the palimpsest to qualify cultural landscapes has proven a powerful tool to understand and describe landscapes as a continuously evolving chain of meanings, reflected in the traces left by “the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”, where memory and ongoing transformations are in constant dialogue. This way of understanding landscape challenges more traditional ways of analysing the territory, and shapes research, teaching and practice, both in respect of the questions asked and the approaches used. It thus enriches the conceptual framework through which to imagine and explore the future of a landscape.

2. LANDSCAPE CYCLE and RECYCLE: re-use, re-launching, technics and iterative thoughts. 

Landscape conceived as a system, with configuration in continuous change, calls upon the understanding of the existing balances, their transformations, interruptions or continuations. Studying the stratifications of the materials composing the sites in relation with the temporalities and reasons of their creation, allows one to recognise cycles and structures useful for the development of eco-logical thoughts and methods towards regeneration: new practices, slow dynamics of transformation, times and intermediate spaces, restructuration of the relations between existing materials, iterative approach of reading and project. Re-use and re-cycling concern the capacity to re-weave the links with materials and ongoing processes. Soft techniques and slow times allow the reinvention of new life cycles, where human and natural actions in their interrelations produce flexible spaces, able of adapting themselves to geomorphological transformations. Soft techniques and short-cycle economics are the tools of adaptable and flexible projects.

3. HUMAN and NATURAL INTERACTION: natural and human time process, combined actions and projects.
The European Landscape Convention reaffirms the principle of co-action, already expressed by McHarg as a way to “Design with Nature”. If landscapes are “the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”, those places already modified by human action that are awaiting new affectation, ask for practices able to combine (or organise) various components which characterise them. These places, established by the subjection of natural materials to human needs, are the expression of ancient societal projects directed toward the future; their exhausted natural resources weaken their capacities to reduce the effects of continuing intensive exploitation. Today new ways are emerging to go beyond these critical states. All plead for the integration of natural strengths in the elaboration of new future-oriented projects. The design of built and un-built artefacts could grow rich in thoughts and temporal processes could thus lead to new projectual opportunities.

4. PROSPECTIVE ATTITUDE: reading and writing approach, project as a medium, research by project, alternative methods. 
Landscape research seems irremediably divided between two methodological frameworks, on the one hand searching for objective concepts permitting quantifiable descriptions, on the other a qualitative and projective research approach. While the first one is searching for the genericity of statistical results, the latter is interested morphological typology, embodied knowledge and the unicity of the specific lived example. Lead by researchers with different sensibilities (and a different conviction about “truth”), they tell different stories about the same object – “landscape”. The methodological challenge, then, is to find a new equilibrium in landscape research between conceptual thinking and concrete knowledge that stresses the living relationship between theory and “the touch of the world” (R. Gustavsson).
We are interested in receiving abstracts (in format .rtf) in English of no more than 300 words by the 7th July 2014, to Authors will later be invited to write a paper to be published in the First Quaderno En Route.
Structure of the text:
– Authors
– Institution and contact information
– Title
– Topic
– Keywords: maximum 5
– Abstract: maximum 300 words

Sunday, 5th October 2014: site visits
We will introduce the participants to various landscape aspects of the “anchor site” of the Faculty of
Architecture, first navigating on the river Meuse, then exploring the Liège conurbation. Our aim is for this
shared experience to be the common thread facilitating the dialogue between the participants during the
next two days of discussion.

Monday, 6th October – Tuesday, 7th October 2014: seminar

Wednesday, 8th October 2014: half-day doctoral and research colloquium


Abstract submission: 7th July 2014
Notification accepted abstract: 21 July 2014
Papers: Information will be available later


Members and partners of this initiative 120 € before 25th August, 150 € After
Others 180 € 210 €

Early bird registration: 25th August 2014

Deadline for registration: 22th September 2014


UNISCAPE : Tessa Goodman, communication manager
Université de Liège: Rita Occhiuto, Catherine Szántó, LabVTP, Faculté d’Architecture
Carmen Valenti, International Relations: + 32 4 221 79 08  + 32 4 221 79 08