Decolonising the Modern Wastescape
by Francisca Pimentel
Of Ghosts and Orphans
by Adi Bamberger Chen
by Lavenya Parthasarathy
by Stefan Gruber
by Martin Alvarez
Rathbone Market as Intangible Heritage
by Kleovoulos Aristarchou
The Ghost of European Cities Present
by Sophie Schrattenecker
Venice, Behind the Curtains
by Neha Fatima
Re-Measuring Lost Li-Long
by Longhua Gu
by Fanny Ciufo
There is something moving and mysterious about being in a place, and imagining what once existed in this very spot. The reality that this space - this plaza, this building, this piece of earth, has in all likelihood served a very different purpose than it does today. The bricks and mortar may have been preserved, but the occupancy has dramatically evolved. The culture, the people, the way we value this space and how we utilize it, has changed over time - and will, no doubt, continue to change. It is humbling to remember that the buildings we build today will not function the same way indefinitely, and will find new life adapted as something else (or make way for something else) far sooner than we care to admit.
This theme, of “ghosts” in the system, became the jumping off point for this year’s publication. In a variety of inquiries, our writers explore the invisible layers which continue to haunt our built environment. How do moments in history linger in physical spaces - in both tangible and intangible manifestations? How does the experience, the feeling, or the lingering energy of a place continue to be addressed - with celebration, with denial, with small whispers of what once was, or grand recreations of that which no longer exists? How does the urban fabric reflect the inputs that shaped its current form? And how can physical dimensions be measured against the phantom dimension of time?
This issue invites writers from various cultural backgrounds to address the abstract components of architectural history at different scales. In order to reveal the unnoticed facets of these living environments, our writers seek to read-between-the-lines, to unravel complicated origins and conflicting narratives, and to explore the underlying systems which shape our historic built environment.
It is a great pleasure and privilege to write this short note to accompany the publication of this second edition of Urbanogram ‘Ghost Dimensions’. As a journal conceived within the orbit of the MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environments programme at the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) and now expanding to create its own constellation of professional networks, ideas and knowledge sharing, this is an outstanding initiative that bears exceptional testimony to the strength of collective and collaborative pedagogies within and beyond academia. The creativity and enterprise of those involved in this journal, from editors to guest writers, is an inspiration for past, current and future students, as well as academics and practitioners engaged in history and the built environment.
‘Ghost Dimensions’ continues the journal’s focus on critical and original ways of researching and writing about the built environment, especially contexts and conditions that have previously escaped scholarly or professional attention.
It is particularly heartening to see the themes of coloniality, the environment and equity feature prominently in this edition through a diverse range of subjects and approaches. While these themes have for too long appeared like apparitions in the canon of architectural and urban history, Urbanogram is to be commended for casting a light on these and other similarly marginalised topics, and for championing a more plural approach to the way we engage with urban history in theory and in practice.
Congratulations to all those involved in producing this second edition of Urbanogram – may it be just the second step in a very long, prolific and exciting journey for everyone involved.
Prof. Edward Denison
Professor of Architecture and Global Modernities
Director of the MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environments at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL