Event Title

Parks in the Sky: How Urban Rejuvenation is Re-Writing Wilderness

Presenter Information

Sarah Mercurio

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Art & Letters

Major

English

Location

RM 215-218

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Holly Henry

Start Date

5-27-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

5-27-2014 5:30 PM

Abstract

Expanding on previous analysis of “wilderness” as a rhetorical idea and cultural creation, this thesis uses the High Line Park in New York City as a case study to examine nature within cities, or “urban nature.” Using Roland Barthes’ notion of myth making, the wilderness myth is analyzed in relation to the High Line Park and investigated as a means of inflecting new myths. Next, wilderness experiences are considered by applying Jean Baudrillard’s theory of hyperreality and Sabine Hofmeister’s theory on first, second, and third wilderness to the park’s design. Redevelopment projects that have resulted in post-industrial public green space are analyzed from an ecocritical perspective, including the High Line Park and the Gas Works Park in Seattle, Washington. Analyses suggest that citizens require a hybrid urban wilderness, both natural and artificial, to adapt to the challenges of a planet undergoing climate change. This thesis concludes that while ecocritical theorists have not yet fully engaged in urban ecocritical analysis, the emerging trend to consider the city as a wild place is a direct result of a shift in cultural perspective, as is evidenced through the development of the natural and artificial place-making, such as the High Line Park. Key theorists include Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, William Cronon, Raymond Williams, Sabine Hofmeister, and Timothy Morton.

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May 27th, 1:00 PM May 27th, 5:30 PM

Parks in the Sky: How Urban Rejuvenation is Re-Writing Wilderness

RM 215-218

Expanding on previous analysis of “wilderness” as a rhetorical idea and cultural creation, this thesis uses the High Line Park in New York City as a case study to examine nature within cities, or “urban nature.” Using Roland Barthes’ notion of myth making, the wilderness myth is analyzed in relation to the High Line Park and investigated as a means of inflecting new myths. Next, wilderness experiences are considered by applying Jean Baudrillard’s theory of hyperreality and Sabine Hofmeister’s theory on first, second, and third wilderness to the park’s design. Redevelopment projects that have resulted in post-industrial public green space are analyzed from an ecocritical perspective, including the High Line Park and the Gas Works Park in Seattle, Washington. Analyses suggest that citizens require a hybrid urban wilderness, both natural and artificial, to adapt to the challenges of a planet undergoing climate change. This thesis concludes that while ecocritical theorists have not yet fully engaged in urban ecocritical analysis, the emerging trend to consider the city as a wild place is a direct result of a shift in cultural perspective, as is evidenced through the development of the natural and artificial place-making, such as the High Line Park. Key theorists include Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, William Cronon, Raymond Williams, Sabine Hofmeister, and Timothy Morton.