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Edgelands are the transitional, liminal areas of space to be found on the boundaries of country and town—with the spread of urbanisation, an increasingly important facet of the twenty-first century world.[1]


The concept of Edgelands was introduced by Marion Shoard in 2002, to cover the disorganised but often fertile hinterland between planned town and over-managed country.[2] However a century and a half earlier, Victor Hugo had already highlighted the existence of what he called "bastard countryside...ugly but bizarre, made up of two different natures, which surrounds certain great cities";[3] while Richard Jeffries similarly explored the London edgeland in Nature near London (1883). Alice Coleman (Kings College London, dept geography) in 2nd Land Use Survey of Great Britain, refers to "rurban fringe". Indicating a similar landscape but with negative overtones.

Nevertheless it was only in the last decades of the twentieth century - as a distinct realm of Nature increasingly disappeared beneath the commodifying impact of globalising late capitalism[4] - that the significance of the unstructured borderlands between organised town and organised country, part man-made, part natural,[5] both for wildlife and for human exploration, came into fuller focus. Psychogeography charted the London orbital, while bombsites, canal banks and brownfield sites were documented in poetry and prose, film and photography;[6] and the borderlands as an untapped, transgressive resource became almost the object of a new cult.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andrew Walker - 2002 Aspects of Lincoln: Discovering Local History - Page 134 1473836131 "AN 'EDGE-LAND': THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WITHAM VALLEY EAST OF CANWICK ROAD by Dennis Mills THE TERM 'EDGE-LAND' has been coined recently for the concept of a neglected area on the fringe of a city. Frequently such ..."
  2. ^ Our beautiful edgelands
  3. ^ Quoted in Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks (2015) p. 231
  4. ^ Frederic Jameson, The Jameson Reader (2002) p. 251
  5. ^ M. Pratt, My Wild Northumbria (2015) p. 176 and 208
  6. ^ Robert Macfarlane, Landmarks (2015) p. 232
  7. ^ T. Fry, Design in the Borderlands (2014) p. 159

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