Regeneration projects, and construction booms in cities and towns across Europe and the Americas, were fuelled by speculative property bubbles from the early to mid 2000s.
Today, thousands of development sites associated with those projects remain underused or abandoned, surrounded by landscapes characterised by decaying materials, or they are being recuperated for purposes for which they weren’t originally intended.
Such sites have been the subject of much debate amongst planners, politicians and communities across the world. They have also been a source of media fascination, receiving heavy coverage in online news publications and blogging sites over the last several years.
Material embodiments of economic collapse
Drawing on in-depth ethnographic and archaeological research undertaken at two sites in Edinburgh (Scotland) and Detroit (USA), Capital Ruins examines how people live and engage with these sites today.
It explores their affective impacts, how people experience them as material embodiments of economic collapse, their relationships to public and private interests, and how they are being appropriated at a time when cultural and global economic futures remain uncertain.
The project also highlights how archaeological and ethnographic approaches can be used to illuminate the spheres of meaning in which these material forms are entangled, as well as how they are being represented and appropriated within current political and sociocultural discourses, and the ways in which emerging ‘commoning’ practices are featuring in the practices surrounding the sites.