Landscape and Community // Start the Week, BBC Radio 4

A fascinating episode this morning, with guests including Patrick Keiller discussing various aspects of urban landscapes.

Bridget Kendall talks to Patrick Keiller about the relationship between film, cities and landscape, and uncovers the hidden stories of the places where we live. Victoria Henshaw is interested in what our cities smell like, and what we lose when we sterilise our environment. The poet Robin Robertson has written about the bleak, remote island of St Kilda and how the remnants of its close-knit community left together in 1930. The importance and difficulty of creating a sense of community is at the heart of Giles Fraser’s new series which asks whether we’ve become merely nostalgic for a bygone age of close neighbourhoods, or whether it’s possible to reconstruct them.


Doreen Massey, ‘Landscape/Space/Politics: An Essay’

A wonderful essay by the geographer Doreen Massey, which she wrote to accompany the film made by Patrick Keiller as part of their Landscape and Environment research project.

The project set out to investigate received ideas about belonging and other, related subjects, by exploring part of a familiar though not always sympathetically viewed landscape – the southern English ‘countryside’ – equipped with a 35mm cine camera.

It was prompted by what appeared to be a discrepancy between, on one hand, the cultural and critical attention devoted to experience of mobility and displacement and, on the other, a tacit but seemingly widespread tendency to hold on to formulations of dwelling that derive from a more settled, agricultural past. While the former was extensive, it often seemed to involve regret for the loss or impossibility of the latter, and hence to reinforce, rather than rethink, some easily questionable ideas.