It always amuses me to see the way in which we ‘allow’ nature into our cities. Always with boundries and constraints; ‘you can live on our streets but you can never leave this three foot square’. I love to see nature breaking these rules, it gives me great pleasure to see a cantankerous old Plane tree disrupting a footpath and mangling a fence, particularly when it forces pedestrians to adjust their stride.
The action is not confined to the urban environment, outside of the city it’s often possible to see more dramatic instances. The story is sometimes able to develop further and rebellion becomes reclamation. Man-made sites that are being returned to their natural state can be quite alluring. It makes me feel all the more transient, and I feel it inevitable that one day we, and all evidence of our existence, will be gone, and long before the Earth itself has reached it’s end.
An interesting example of space occupation whilst nature remains unbridled is the graveyard. In many cases, like Highgate cemetery, the land used still boasts it’s natural, pre-humanised state. In the graveyard the structures are minimal and to varying degrees after various interludes, nature is allowed to start reclaiming the space. Throughout the life of a graveyard we remain visitors, even as what we consider ‘permanent residents’ we are moving through, with minimal disruption to other life.
I wonder whether there is an alternative way to design our settlements, some way that doesn’t restrict nature to our edict. It’s possible that graveyards are an unexpected starting point, perhaps the key is in the temporary and the future is nomadic.