Wednesday 23 September 2009

celebrate the collision

When the literary critic Raymond Williams published The Country and The City in 1973 he showed how authors had contrasted the two places since classical times.

But now, thanks to the dead hand of agribusiness, there's often a greater variety of wildlife in the city than there is in the country.

The old approach when it came to notable green spaces in urban areas was to ring-fence a little bit of the country in the city. But this is changing. New projects, such as the High Line in Manhattan (pic), thrive on the juxtaposition. Martin Filler writes

The High Line marks a radical departure from the Classical model of the public park as rus in urbe —"country in city"—epitomized by London's Hyde Park and New York's Central Park, which allow one to imagine having been transported to an idyllic countryside. What makes walking the High Line such an intriguing experience is the way in which it celebrates rather than obviates the collision of natural and manmade environments.

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