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Conference paper, 2009

Land Use Poetics

Hellström Reimer Maria


Generally speaking, ‘land use’ refers to man’s utilization and treatment of the earth’s surface. As a ‘down-to-earth’ notion, it draws attention to the spatio-temporal relationship between human practices and environmental conditions that renders to landscapes and regions their more or less natural and/or idiosyncratic form. Yet, it is primarily as a modern, legal concept directly linked to rational zoning regulations, that land use has entered the spatial discourse, indirectly also actualizing more conflictive aspects, such as the anthropogenic sources of effects like deforestation, soil erosion or urban sprawl. The objective of the paper is to discuss contemporary land use and the methodological aspects of its investigation, documentation and mediation, with the starting point in the arts-based project Land Use Poetics. With reference to a workshop that took place in the peri-urban landscape between the cities of Malmö and Lund in the expansive region of Öresund, and that gathered ten artists and researchers from different countries, the paper reflects upon the different conditions of land use, especially as it unfolds in a post-agrarian and post-industrial ‘experience economy’. In a situation where former agrarian or industrial land is being increasingly fragmented by a multilayered pattern of uses, including also more or less ‘immaterial’ practices of mediation, what does land use imply? And how is land use represented and reproduced? The aim of the project was to uncover the intersection between on the one hand ‘land’ as a field of possibilities; and on the other hand ‘use’ as the activation of these possibilities. In the paper three of the interventions carried out within the project are presented, all of which in different ways approaching the field of spatial practices, technologies and imaginaries, and how these interact. work. In relation to these experiments, it is argued that what is conventionally regarded as pragmatic land use – spatial practices driven by different forms of needs – also, as technologies, carry out an imaginary work in a terrain of signification. Accordingly, spatial representation or different forms of mapping, also unfold as forms of ‘land use’, performances of the possible

Published in


6th AHRA Annual Conference

Authors' information

Hellström Reimer, Maria
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Landskapsarkitektur

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture

URI (permanent link to this page)