Making common ground with strangers at Furnace Park

BENNETT, Luke and CRAWLEY JACKSON, Amanda (2016). Making common ground with strangers at Furnace Park. Social and cultural geography. (In Press)

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In this article we seek to widen the debate about the sites and processes of encounter with strangers by examining the ways in which ‘strangeness’ necessarily fades within the familiarisation processes at play in any sustained and situated place-making. Our analysis draws upon our experiences of encountering strangers – and of our familiarisation with them – in the initial, year-long, site acquisition and preparation phase of a project to create Furnace Park, an experimental urban space in a run-down backwater of central Sheffield. We show the tensions between a project commitment to the formation of a loose, open place and the pressures (which arose from our encounters with the urban development system) to render both the project and the site certain, bounded and less-than-strange. Furthermore, at Furnace Park the site itself presented to us as a non-human stranger, which we were urged to render familiar but which kept eluding that capture. We therefore show how the geographies of strange encounters could productively be widened to embrace both recent scholarship on the material-affective strangeness of ground itself, and a greater attentiveness to the familiarisation effects born of the intersection of diverse communities of practices within place-making projects.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Built Environment Division Research Group
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2016 09:01
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 21:10

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