Blight: “The unbearable municipal burden”

Next semester I’m teaching a class that traces the development of the concept of ‘ruin’ through time, connecting our current fascination and engagements with ruins–via phenomena like ‘ruin porn’ and urban exploration–to historical movements and ways of thinking about and interacting with the vacant/abandoned built environment (eg. psychogeography, flaneury, ruinenlust, Romantic-era representations of ruins, the concept of ‘ruin value,’ ideas about modernity).  The goal is to explore the historical and social roots of these phenomena and their various manifestations and use what we learn to challenge conventional ways of perceiving and engaging with (urban) space.

The promotional poster for the course just went out (hooray!) and I’m starting to create and refine my lesson plans and presentations. In the next few posts, I’ll be discussing some of the subjects we’ll cover, starting with the present-day focus on urban blight and the current interest in/study of modern ruins.

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