Forbes Lipschitz, assistant professor of landscape architecture at LSU, presented her work at the 2014 Mediated City conference in London on April 2, 2014. The conference was hosted by Architecture_MPS, a journal of architecture, media, politics, and society.
At the first part of a two-city conference in London and Los Angeles, presenters from a variety of disciplines gathered to examine the city as a virtual, cinematic, social, political, and physical construct. Lipschitz presented, “Not in My City: Rural America as Urban Dumping Ground,” a paper summarizing her research on Locally Undesirable Land Uses, or LULUs.
During the last 20 years, designers and planners have firmly fixed attention on the patterns and processes of urbanization. The contemporary city is touted as the key to technological, economic, and cultural innovation while rural decline is accepted as inevitable. This resignation to the eventuality of rural decline has facilitated an exploitative relationship between urban hubs and their rural hinterlands. In the United States, LULUs are increasingly being pushed out of cities and into rural areas. Looking for stable economic investments, policy makers and officials in rural areas across the country actively court landfills, prisons, and meat production and processing facilities in hopes of creating new jobs and generating revenue for towns in need of economic revitalization. The siting of such unsavory land uses typically exploits disadvantaged and un-empowered communities and makes the rural-dumping ground paradigm particularly problematic.
While the economic benefits of LULUs are largely unproven, the negative environmental and social consequences can be wide ranging. Landfills and livestock operations, for example, pollute land, air, and water resources, negatively impacting biodiversity and public health. As an out-of-sight-out-of-mind strategy, the geographic displacement of these ecologically and socially damaging systems enables relocation over reformation. By analyzing the geography and design of meat production and processing facilities, landfills, and prison complexes, Lipschitz’s research seeks to illuminate the extent to which unwanted urban land uses are impacting rural areas today.
Visit architecturemps.com/conferences for more information about the Mediated City conference.
About LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture
The Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture has established an international reputation as one of America’s leading and consistently top-ranked programs. Part of the LSU College of Art + Design, the school offers Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture programs. For over 60 years, the program has produced landscape architects who practice all over the world and participate in the full spectrum of the discipline. For more information, visit landscape.lsu.edu.
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