The question of a City: Porirua and its unmaking: Hannah Hopewell
Hannah Hopewell teaches in the School of Architecture at University of Victoria Wellington. Hopewell’s recent creative research projects have centred on expanding the conditions upon which modes of landscape-related practice take place, and within this, the generating of spatial and political imaginaries that delink landscape from adherence to both colonial narratives and economic progress.
The environments of many New Zealand cities are undergoing processes of reorganisation. Densities of buildings, activities and human and non-human populations are being redistributed under the utopic yet ongoing search for democratic planning. Through spatial planning diagrams valuations are cast and territory rationalised; the city is reimagined with a more ‘liveable’ future.
However beneath the rhetoric of Compact, Diverse, Inclusive, Connected, the city is inscribed by an extractive logic that understands land as space for development, ground as real-estate, and the world beneath as supplementary matter. Yet we feel the expression of the city in the very interaction of cultural, biological and geological histories whilst we walk about on soil which is marginalised to the visual and conceptual limits of the everyday. We feel, as Michel Foucault evocatively wrote, the “space in which we live draws us out of ourselves, in which the erosion of our lives, our time and our history occurs, the space that claws and gnaws at us, is also, in itself, a heterogeneous space”. Drawing on spatial planning experience and several projects, this brief presentation asks the question of what happens to cities when the earth is abstracted, when soil is transformed and deposited as dirt?
Date: 23 September 2020
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