Pretty Vacant: pecha kucha

The Wasteland Collective were invited to speak at the A+DS curated Pecha Kucha last night, to talk a bit about the work we’ve been involved in over the last year and to share some thoughts on what we’ve seen along the way! It was a brilliant evening with a great turn out, and it was so inspiring to hear all the other projects talked about too at this fast-paced ideas-filled ambition-fuelled evening! Thank you A+DS for the invitation, and look forward to some collaborations with some of the other vacant landers soon.

A+DS pretty vacant pecha kucha nightThere’s more information about the evening and the other speakers here:

And apparently films of all the talks are going to be made available online soon too! But for now, here is a wee snippet from our talk…

We’re here to share an obsession with waste, an obsession with land, and some thoughts about collectives! Over the last year, the wasteland collective have been collecting wastelands and giving them a bit of fresh thought.

Waste is just an interpretation of resources and opportunities. And we would say there’s really no such thing as waste. After this short sequence of slides, I’m hoping you all think a bit differently about ‘waste’ land…. I’d like you to be part of the growing number who see the opportunities in urban wasted space!

One of our projects was a series of participatory workshops with school children from one of Edinburgh’s peripheral estates, where we started to explore concepts of land value. The project was called Our Natural Capital, and it was a great way to use the kid’s insights and honest make-no-bones of it attitudes to explore land as a resource with value.  We produced a story map which presents how the kids see heritage, resource, and the value of urban land. We used storytelling as a medium to build curiosity around urban landscapes and started asking bigger questions about what’s good enough. At the end, we actually managed to produce a manifesto of principles for better places!

It just goes to show, ‘Values tend to influence attitudes and behaviour’

We are a collective of creative professionals, but at its core are two landscape architects who are looking for a way to put urban land to more dynamic effect.  We don’t just talk about it behind closed doors though: We have hosted two exhibitions, a pop-up market garden, and helped run a series of participatory workshops exploring concepts of land, wasteland, and value.  We are currently working with A+DS to explore mechanisms of ‘pop-up practice’, focused around the work of landscape architects, really thinking about different ways of working.

This is emerging practice, but we’ve found a fantastic energy and interest in the idea that urban land could work harder; and that landscape architects might be at the core of offering new approaches for realising this.

We work with people, with space, with nature, it all comes together. We understand these processes and systems, and can begin to prioritise and orchestrate things……

We can begin to inspire elegant solutions… ‘human’ places arise from wasted ground

Going forward, we hope to continue working with creative practitioners, but also with groups of people not from trained backgrounds: artists and community growers, filmmakers and storytellers, children and older people, people who like to build and people who like to demolish, to come up with fresh approaches in response to today’s needs and aspirations all set within the backdrop of a newly imagined version of our existing urban fabric.


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