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This is an ongoing photographic project exploring spaces on the London Green Belt.
As physical territories of open, unbuilt land and instruments for restriction, green belts are often blamed for shortfalls in a system of urbanism that benefits very few.
Yet, beyond being designated buffer zones that encircle existing urban centres and forbid new building, these are landscapes that have also been shaped by forces that instrumentalize space as a nation-building resource. They accommodate necessary food, waste, and material processing zones that also provide open spaces of nature just a stone’s throw away from sizeable urban populations. However, their dominant representation as diagrams and smoothed-out aerial views fails to express this and only bolsters their otherness. Reflecting a wider abomination of fringe spaces and engendering of its concealment as part of a curated narrative of the English landscape, the consequence is the loss of a collective ability to access and assess these landscapes as environments themselves - as residents of the earth, we become illogically distant from the lands that surround us despite their service to our everyday lives.
For decades, various inefficacies in political systems have prevented green belts from adapting in line with shifting demands, making it an almost century-old policy that still governs how we use our land today. This project asks why a familiarity with and care for these spaces have escaped public consciousness and seeks to address why the promise of connected districts of open, accessible land is now blamed for our limitations as a society.
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