New Stories in Orphaned Spaces: a land ethic for the Anthropocene

I have a forthcoming book with Temple University Press titled tentatively “Loving Orphaned Space, the art and science of belonging to Earth.” It's a geographer’s take on the enormous amount of ignored, overlooked and abused space around us and a call to recognize the undervalued labor, especially art-science collaborations, creating new ways humans can negotiate being better citizens of Earth. 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. The book is due out late 2021; you'll find related academic work on the following pages.

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