The fictional soils of a ‘sustainable’ Anthropocene: A new materialist story of the soils of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Guibert, Eric and Tostevin, Alec 2022. The fictional soils of a ‘sustainable’ Anthropocene: A new materialist story of the soils of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Journal of Landscape Architecture. 17 (2), pp. 76-89. https://doi.org/10.1080/18626033.2022.2156104

TitleThe fictional soils of a ‘sustainable’ Anthropocene: A new materialist story of the soils of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
TypeJournal article
AuthorsGuibert, Eric and Tostevin, Alec
Abstract

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London has been celebrated as an exemplar of sustainable landscape architecture and regeneration. Yet tracing the new materialist histories of its enmeshed soils reveals how complex sustainable landscape architecture is. On the one hand, the park has expertly recycled and locally sourced its materials. On the other, the socio-ecosystems of its soil assemblages have been pulverized, treated and mixed to create a new profile of synthetic geological strata. Their history and life have been erased. The subterranean sections through this park are caricatures of a ‘sustainable Anthropocene’. Here, the anthropogenic geology supporting the vision of idealized future ecosystems is used for the global marketing of a nation and property developments. This project indicates a destructive systemic blindness in sustainable approaches and the need for truly regenerative design processes, based on working with a place, including the various (other-than) human inhabitants, instead of solely mining its materials to create a perfect vision anew.

Keywordssoil
landscape architecture
sustainability
new materialism
Olympic Park
JournalJournal of Landscape Architecture
Journal citation17 (2), pp. 76-89
ISSN1862-6033
2164-604X
Year2022
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/18626033.2022.2156104
Publication dates
Published online07 Dec 2022
Published in printDec 2022

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