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Landscape architectural design as a foundation

Leftover spaces are urban interstices that are open to spontaneous socioecological appropriation, complementary to defined and managed urban open spaces. The design intervention of leftover spaces poses a paradox: while repurposing leftover spaces to make them accessible, usable and meaningful, design simultaneously runs a risk of closing off opportunities for appropriation. This paper examines the role of landscape architecture design in transforming leftover spaces. Four analytical lenses: the morphological, material, ecological and social lenses, were developed to examine  the Dalston Curve Garden. Two essential design lessons for engaging the interstitial condition of leftover spaces were concluded: to design with multiple site qualities and to nurture local stewardship. The study further highlights the role of spatio-physical design as ‘founding’: to establish the beginning of a place-bound transformation without fixing the endpoint and to allow a profound connection between people and place to emerge.

In Journal of Landscape Architecture 17 3 2022. pp. 32-45. In collaboration with Sitong Luo. DOI 10.1080/18626033.2022.2195227