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Cyclical City: Five Stories of Urban Transformation

Cyclical City: Five Stories of Urban Transformation - Jill Desimini

Cyclical City: Five Stories of Urban Transformation


As cities evolve and resources shift with time, spaces within those cities are often left fallow and abandoned. Cyclical City tells the stories behind these sites, from Philadelphia's Liberty Lands park to Lisbon's Green Plan, and it looks at the ways in which these narratives can be leveraged toward future engagement and use. Jill Desimini posits a fundamental role for spatial design practice to transform abandoned urban landscapes through time. She argues for approaches that promote the specific affordances of the land itself (hydrology, vegetation, topography, geology, infrastructural capacity, occupation potential); the importance of cyclical change; and the particularities of the cultural, political, and physical context. These themes are explored in five cities--Philadelphia, Berlin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Saint Louis--and across centuries, from periods of great upheaval to ones of relative stability and even economic growth. Desimini considers what landscape-driven design can bring to cities losing people and economic resources, how design practice can be more inclusive in a context of market failure, and the ways in which abandoned landscapes can become our commons.

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As cities evolve and resources shift with time, spaces within those cities are often left fallow and abandoned. Cyclical City tells the stories behind these sites, from Philadelphia's Liberty Lands park to Lisbon's Green Plan, and it looks at the ways in which these narratives can be leveraged toward future engagement and use. Jill Desimini posits a fundamental role for spatial design practice to transform abandoned urban landscapes through time. She argues for approaches that promote the specific affordances of the land itself (hydrology, vegetation, topography, geology, infrastructural capacity, occupation potential); the importance of cyclical change; and the particularities of the cultural, political, and physical context. These themes are explored in five cities--Philadelphia, Berlin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and Saint Louis--and across centuries, from periods of great upheaval to ones of relative stability and even economic growth. Desimini considers what landscape-driven design can bring to cities losing people and economic resources, how design practice can be more inclusive in a context of market failure, and the ways in which abandoned landscapes can become our commons.

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