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Talking Cities

Too much media coverage of architecture focuses on the banal excesses of Shanghai and Dubai. The more interesting story these days concerns marginal, residual and abandoned spaces left behind when industry disappears. A new publication, Talking Cities is all about “Guerilla Architecture”, “An-Aesthetics”, and “Architecture on the Edge’. Later in the year, a spectacular series of exhibitions called Entry is planned at a vast coal washing plant at the Zeche Zollverein – a Bauhaus masterpiece now designated as a world heritage site. The Entry project is an example of how a cultural action can, by focusing attention on a disregarded site, stimulate regeneration. Curator Francesca Ferguson, of the Berlin-based organisation Urban Drift says her project is about “re-activating existing structures” in ways that can inspire business and urban agencies. “Urban waste land, empty buildings, dusused products, and forgotten brands, are valuable resources that can be awakened to new life and fresh use” she says. Fresh, and in unusual combinations: The maps in Talking Cities portray vast landscapes in which “town” and “country” are no longer clearly separated from each other. There’s a seminar about it all on 29 September at Zollverein School of Management and Design. (Talking Cities will be launched in London on 22 June, on the occasion of the London Architecture Biennale, at ®edux Unit 303, Third Floor, Lana House, 116 Commercial Street, London E1 6NF)

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