Everybody likes a good ruin, but the ones we usually value tend to be old, ancient civilisations, runied abbeys. But the 20th century has given us more abandoned places than any other, the cycles of innovation, industry and obsolesence leaving us with ruins in and around our cities, empty and crumbling, foreboding and locked away. I find such places fascinating.
So does Tim Edensor, my old university lecturer, who wrote a book on the subject.
“As spaces by the side of the road, ruins can be explored for effects that talk back to the quest to create an impossibly seamless urban fabric, to the uses to which history and heritage are put, to the extensive over-commodification of places and things, to middle-class aesthetics, and to broader tendencies to fix meanings in the service of power.”