October 2006 Archives

reading this felt like ploughing

the english landscape in the twentieth century

it is a vast topic and i'm not sure how else trevor rowley's "the english landscape in the twentieth century" could have been organised. the text is often very hard going as well as being a continually depressing record of destruction by cars, aeroplanes, housing, the ministry of defence and tourism. all these forces seem to share something in common with a steamroller

the first chapter begins:

"The english landscape at the beginning of the twenty-first century owes more to the previous hundred years than any previous age. Much that changed was added to an older framework, but even more of what we see today is new and, what is more, owes little or nothing to what went before. In many respects, the landscape is no longer directly linked to the land on which it lies. Most of what has been built and engineered is functional and uniform. Local building materials or local craft traditions play little part in reshaping our environment today. The loss of distinctive local environments is the price to be paid for affluence, safety and cheap commodities. Perhaps landscape, in the historical sense of the evolving rural and urban scene, is dead."

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