Understanding landscape change in a former brownfield site.

Catherine Heatherington, Anna Jorgensen, Stephen Walker

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The term palimpsest is sometimes used as a way of conceptualising historic cultural landscapes that have been subject to changes. This paper uses an expanded version of the palimpsest concept (a temporal collage intermingling memories with tangible and intangible elements from different time periods across a range of scales) to focus on a former military site on the Thames Estuary, which, after a period of dereliction, has been developed as a bird reserve. It examines different user interpretations of the present-day landscape in the light of its recent history and demonstrates how the physical traces and artefacts, the topography, memories and the relationship with the surrounding area all play a part in these interpretations. This landscape subverts a chronological reading and extends beyond the physical and temporal boundaries of the site enabling both the expert and non-expert to tell multiple and diverse stories with implications for landscape planning and design.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number1
Early online date10 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Palimpsest
  • time-edge
  • temporal collage
  • landscape change
  • landscape and memory


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