Category: the collective

Wasteland Collective is Here + Now …now!

Over the laHere + now landscape architecture Scotland designing engaging curatingst few months the Wasteland Collective has morphed into a new and exciting entity. We are in the process of becoming the first Scottish landscape architecture CIC (Community Interest Company) and have a shiny new website to show off too!

We are really pleased with what the Wasteland Collective has achieved and can’t wait to keep up the momentum within our new company. Our ethos is in line with what the Wasteland Collective started, but has expanded into three main areas: Designing, Curating and Engaging. Here + Now hopes to make influential changes in how we see and use the places around us. We have many exciting projects, events, collaborations and much more on the go, and would love for anyone passionate about creating better places to pop on over to our new website, have a browse and sign up to our mailing list!

We are excited about developing the Wasteland Collective into something even more active, unique and meaningful that is Here. Now.

Thanks for all the support for WC and we hope to see you on the other side!



Do It In Public … Sam Patterson

Introducing the wasteland collective…Sam Patterson

The project I am presenting was concieved and delivered as a two week workshop at the European Architecture Students Assembly in Helsinki in 2012, the theme of the assembly was ‘wastelands’. We were based in an area of Helsinki and developed a group observation project and saw that people felt free to make the wastelands their own as a way of escaping urban city life.

These wastelands were definded by their construction site appearance but the reality was a vibrant and creative community delivering their own projects and attracting other people to the area, so many infact that they were able to sustain an independant cafe.

….. What we did

With the assistance of Diarmaid Lawlor from Architecture and Design Scotland, 10 architecture students took ‘a reading’, making observations and looking for opportunities to collaborate and improve. We spoke to people as we walked through the site to learn from them and gather local opinion on ideas we were developing, we needed ‘a connection’.

We selected ‘a site’, an old hut on the edge of helsinki harbour and developed ‘a project’ to tidy and repair the existing hut, turning it into a changing room and creating a seating area.

A Reading, A Connection, A Site, A project and A Peformance….

….. What will you do in public?


Do It In Public … Euan Maharg + Guy Phenix

Introducing the wasteland collective…Euan Maharg + Guy Phenix

This project raises awareness of wasteland acoustics through photography and sonic installation. The essence of a wasteland is absence – physical absence and the absence of program. These absences mean that the instrumental qualities wastelands are different to that of occupied land. As occupation leaves, a site goes from producing sound to absorbing sound. From making a noise to near silence.

This is an acoustic wasteland.

I aim to document the acoustic wastelands left behind by 2 railway sites along Leith Walk – the old tram depot/repair shop and a cut-off bridge above the road itself.

The effect of having such a quite place amongst a great urban noise is profound. Any architecture on-site acts as a resonating chamber like that of a violin – changing the sound as materials reverberate and absorb the waves around.

Any open space* is laid bare to every noise in all directions – creating a soup of distant roars that is punctuated by the more delicate calls of birds and other small sounds that are related to the sites ecology and decay. The height and size of an open wasteland determine this acousmatic distance**.

*a space that is open in more directions that it is closed

**acousmatic – a sound in a film or in the landscape where the source is obscured.

EuanMaharg_image for booklet

Do It In Public … Liz + Lisa

Introducing the wasteland collective…Lisa Jeffrey + Liz Thomas

What are wastelands?

We use the term ‘wastelands’ to be provocative, to stir peoples’ sense of pride and to challenge those who ‘make the rules’ about what is acceptable and what is good enough. How much MORE could our streets and spaces do?  What are the layers of life and function which could be added?

Take the example of urban streets, which are typically the result of traffic engineering solutions. They are designed for movement, especially if you are driving a car! We consider these ‘wastelands’ because these streets waste the chance to be so much more…

We believe all urban land, as it is currently planned, is under-utilised. Think along the streets and spaces you know: how many functions do they perform? And if you let your imagination go, what might you like to be able to do there! ‘Wasteland’ is anywhere which is under performing, perhaps engineered for singular function or a built with a limited user group in mind.

What can wastelands be?

We think most urban land could do much more. For the people who live there, for people who visit, for nature, for culture… our urban environments should be alive and open to all.

Positive places for urban life are made when people feel welcome to occupy them and act out their lives in them. Literally, ‘living in public’.  When these places are linked and connected, we have urban landscapes — buzzing with vitality and potential.

We have been looking at Edinburgh’s urban streets and spaces as they stand, and adding anchors for urban recreation, urban growing, urban play, urban life.  Our project offers one such little anchor in the wasteland of the average streetscape, something to take hold of and invite you to feel part of this environment. Our chairs built from reclaimed palettes offered a spot to belong in the most unlikely of places; certainly unlikely, but unquestionably appreciated! Here’s a wee preview… but come along to the Wastelands ‘Do It In Public‘ exhibition to see more!

palette seats edinburgh wastelands wastelands2013 do it in public

Do It In Public … Dominic Cifelli

Introducing the wasteland collective…Dominic Cifelli.

What are wastelands?

Wastelands should not be viewed as markers of decline associated with negative connotations. Instead we should see them as results of change and spaces with potential for alternative uses.

Wastelands have not necessarily had a specific previous purpose. They can simply be a missed opportunity or a place with potential for more. The unique qualities of each site need to be highlighted.

They are not always negative as I feel wastelands are essential spaces in the city. They offer breathing spaces or break the rhythm of the urban gain.  Nearly all have a function despite it not always being apparent at first glance.

We should celebrate our wastelands.

What can wastelands be?

It seems to me that simple enhancements are often all that is needed to improve a wasted/ underused space.  I propose to build structures, furniture and installations. These should be easy to install and remove.

I intend to illustrate this point by using the layout of the gallery. A bench made from reclaimed materials will run along the wall into the window and continue out into the street. Thus making a connection from the inside to the outside. This might catch the attention of a passer by and invite them in.

The result will be a stark design because my aim is to react with minimum production in order to illustrate the simplicity needed to transform a space in a simple and fun way.  It is more about initiating rather than designing. I’d like to design designers out to make it a democratic solution.

The intervention should speak clearly in the designers absence. This will assist the exploration of a space and allow for reflection and interpretation of the surroundings.

Pallet collecting

Do It In Public … Cate Inglis

Introducing the wasteland collective…Cate Inglis.

What are wastelands?

A wasteland…a ruin…a forgotten place…where people once were but now are not. A loss of potential…a waste of resources….an eyesore? There is a sadness in these places that tells a story of someone’s forgotten dreams, failed plans and the amnesia of progress.

My practice is concerned with disused, derelict structures, forgotten spaces and their place amongst the constant rebuilding and evolution of urban landscapes. I record the effects of time upon the materials we use to build and fail to maintain, and the visual landscape created by layer upon layer of architecture that forever seeks to meet the needs of an advancing population.

All of these wasted spaces (and we are surrounded by them) could be so many things, as urban space becomes tighter. Through my paintings I invite the viewer to look – to really look – at what is all around us and ask themselves what was this? And what could it be?



Do It In Public … Thomas Clark

Introducing the wasteland collective … Tommy Clark.

What are wastelands?

I believe that a wasteland is an area of land that at one time had a specific purpose. The purpose has been removed and a new use for the area has not been established. The piece of land can no longer be defined. It was something, it may possibly be something in the future, but for now, it is nothing.

By my definition the signs of wasted space are simple. They are physical elements that were constructed for a purpose and are now no longer used. Houses that are not lived in, shops that are no longer open, industries that produce nothing.

For me the challenge is not necessarily to physically change wastelands, but simply to redefine them. A former industrial/ residential/ commercial site will always be considered a waste land if the public see it as being so.

What can wastelands be?

I would like to show that there is incredible ecological potential within wastelands, and it simply needs to be exposed. The extreme nature and singular function of these sites often creates unique conditions, diminishing common competitor species and allowing rare and unique habitats to grow.

I already had an interest in this particular topic after completing my dissertation on a similar subject. However, it became personally much more interesting when recently assisting an ecologist of a site survey in Perth. The ecologist noticed and recorded a huge range of plants and animals. By the end of the visit I realised that the road side we were studying was teeming with life and activity, and that it will almost always go unnoticed by the average person.

To take an ecologist onto an extreme post industrial site and survey what plants and animals are there. I will collect any evidence of interesting / rare / unusual species. I proposed to visit an extreme ‘wasteland’ with an ecologist and survey the range of species that live there. I will then collect the most interesting and rare examples and preserve them. I will compare the image of the run down site with the exuberant colour and life which is underneath the surface.The project aims to explore the existing potential of wastelands.