The conservation of industrial remains as a source of individuation and socialization

Severcan, Y. C. & Barlas, A.

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Severcan, Y. C., & Barlas, A. (2007). The conservation of industrial remains as a source of individuation and socialization. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 31(3), 675–682.

Capitalism , Industrial Heritage , Public Space , Repurposing , Socialization

The disappearance of public spaces from the urban realm is a sign of the de-individuation and asocialization of the modern individual. However, cities still provide important tools for reclaiming our lost public life. The aim of this essay is to approach industrial heritage, usually considered a conservation issue, from a different perspective, as a tool for individuation and socialization. In order to do this, we start by describing the effects of capitalism and globalization on public open spaces, and then link this to governments’ privatization policies for industrial heritage. We show how industrial landscapes could function as public spaces. Finally, we explain how, in the absence of other public open spaces, industrial landscapes could be used for public purposes to meet the social needs of humans, and could thus be instrumental in the proliferation of our rituals.

Main finding
From the literature the authors find that industrial landscapes for public use can serve two key functions: 1) as a space to perform lost rituals and escape feelings of chaos and nowhereness and 2) as a public benefit they could be a powerful tool to constitute the public realm. Six advantages to industrial landscapes were identified: 1) their position in urban context and proximity to inner cities, 2) they consist of huge amounts of land for recreating and replacing open-air areas that had been destroyed, 3) they are potentially usable as vacant building stock, 4) they possess a symbolic and monumental character and can regenerate collective memories, 5) they have a unique architectural vocabulary, and 6) they are usually held in public ownership.

Description of method used in the article
This essay used a review of literature to describe the impact of capitalism and globalization on public space, the authors discuss the use of industrial heritage sites as a tool for individuation and socialization.

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