New Stories in Orphan Spaces: a land ethic for the Anthropocene
I've long obsessed about “orphan spaces” — the ubiquitous isolated, often polluted places routinely produced by human development. I see them as a contemporary frontier, previously overlooked and dismissed spaces that are being pulled into a broader consciousness as our environments are rapidly shifting around us, and in unexpected ways. Art, science and technology are transforming these spaces and our relationships to them. New projects in orphan spaces are responding to multiple challenges at once, including polluted stormwater, food sovereignty, environmental injustice, as well as flooding, drought, and other impacts of climate change. But at core are new stories and new relationships through which we give these spaces meaning in our lives. New stories can reject purely functionalist narratives about the environment as "useful," and can celebrate new voices and new stories about our common dwelling place called Earth. This is an unfolding project, but here's an intro speech I gave last year, and you'll find published academic work on the following pages.