This is the site.
The site is beautiful. It is organic. It is urban. It is both. It is the best of both.
It is concrete, tarmac and metal.
It is water, clay, trees and grass.
It is dark, damp, dull.
It is used, disused and misused.
It is cared for. It is neglected.
It is empty. It is quiet.
It is part park, but no-one lingers. It is a thoroughfare. A desire line, with minimal desire.
It has a history.
It has a future. There is building work.
It is loud with the clack of travelling vehicles.
It is open space, covered space.
It was a place.
It is named. Its name is unknown.
It is not now a place.
It will be place again.
Living near a river filled me with hope that I might be able to find suitable clay nearby for casting. I was lucky.
The site is near the river, surrounded by trees. There is a small path where people walk their dogs or cycle. But no-one lingers. The commanding dual carriageway hoisted above the space, slicing though some potentially great parkland, encourages people to keep on their journey. The graffiti, footprints in the river bed and litter signify the variety of ways this space is used.
This place has a name, though most people do not know it. ‘The bit near the river by…’ is probably how its location is understood, Ashton Meadows meaning almost nothing to most people. It is not a destination. It is a thoroughfare, on the edge of the city.
It’s what Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts refer to as an Edgeland.
Places are known, mentally mapped, they have names. Spaces are unknown, unnamed on the exterior of the city as well as peoples consciousness. This location is still a space to me, relatively unknown, only recently named.
Can it become a place; not just for me but for the city? Can it turn a space into a place?