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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 3, Issue 2, Fall 2011

Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl
Pages 51-81
DOI: 10.7761/ESP.3.2.51

Mapping the Residual Landscape
Dilapidation, Abandonment, and Ruin in the Built Environment

Th is article examines the extent to which spaces are structuring influences on, or targets of, action. Two factors and their interactions are presented: the extent to which a space is 1) maintained and 2) used. As these factors increase in strength, the structural influences of a space increase while agential opportunities are diminished. Conversely, as spaces become dilapidated and abandoned, structural forces are weakened and the potential for creative action heightens. These spaces can be conceptualized as elements of the ‘residual landscape’: spaces left behind by socio-historical processes and practices. Special cases are considered where the factors are inversely related and issues of structure and agency are complicated. A brief case study serves to illustrate each type of space and the factors which operate therein.