Wild to Wildscape: Designing the Urban Wild
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Urban wasteland, terrain vague, postindustrial site, urban wild and wildscape: these are but a few of the terms describing sites which have been disturbed by humans and contain novel or spontaneous vegetation. In this thesis, I investigate the literature for examples of how designers can act upon these sites such that they provide the social, environmental, and artistic benefits of being ‘designed’ without destroying existing vegetative wildness and historical traces. I organize 35 terms into three categories describing the spaces as either negative, empty, or by vegetation type. I find that most design suggestions lie along three axes: history, vegetation, and access/interactivity, along with a general principle of ‘minimal intervention.’ Finally, I synthesize the literature review and precedents and apply what I have found to a test design site, a portion of a former railroad right of way in Alexandria, Virginia.