Unfamiliar Territory

Final Thesis Research // 2015 - 2016, TU Delft

This research through the examination of the concepts of ‘territory’ and ‘the unfamiliar’ approaches disturbed sites as a specific case inside landscape architecture that requires a rethinking of the common ways of ‘reading’, ‘intervening in’and ‘representing’ such sites. It serves as a stepping stone towards a general re-examination of landscape design in an age when it is becoming increasingly apparent that disturbed sites (or any other sites for that matter) can never be fully managed or their future development entirely predetermined. It questions the role of an intervention and elaborates on ways landscape architecture could begin to see itself as only one of the many agents working on site, in the moment of design emphasized and fundamental to the actualisation of a designed assemblage but always already subservient to processes it cannot fully delimit. 

The research approaches disturbed sites as unfamiliar territories, products of a particular territorial production where different actors use overcoding (a series of “phenomena of centering, unification, totalization, integration, hierarchization, and finalization”) to achieve their political or economic aims. To describe how, why and by whom such territorializations take place the research takes as a starting point on one side writings on territory by Deleuze and Guattari and further elaborations by Brighenti, Grosz, Halsey and others, and on the other side ideas of post-humanism and new materialism to provide a new view on disturbed sites and to broaden the conception of territory as a relational, process-driven and open-ended mode of organization. The research follows the routine process of a landscape architecture project - ‘reading’ the site, ‘intervening in’ the site and ‘representing’the site, yet it through the findings derived from the research offers alternatives to each of these project components. 


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