Strange what grips my imagination sometimes. Since I've seen the Nathan Freise prints over at BLDGBLOG (via Landscape Urbanism), I've just not been able to get them out of my head. I keep returning to look at them. Admittedly, they remind me of the situationist surrealism we used to conjure up in our dreamy photoshop years in grad school, but they keep reminding me of the pastoral possibilities presented by the leftover spaces of urban infrastructure. There are a lot of places of pastoral idyll in the city that we don't take advantage of. I've contemplated how to appreciate and use these underutilized spaces before. Architects tend to think we need to populate these non-places with aid of landscaping and programs that make sense. But what if the program is just creating a place to lie in the savannah grass? Meanwhile, a lot of our uber-programmed, ultra-terraformed and mowed parks and recreation areas remain eerily empty.
I practice architecture and urban design in Charlotte, N.C., often as a consultant in transportation projects. The rest of my time I help layout the developments of the clients of the firm I work for. While I'd like to be an urbanist, if anything, I'm an expert in the layout of parking lots. For now, just consider me an "aspiring urbanist", until governments allow me to practice what I preach.