Wasteland Twinning

Format Neighborhood Platform

City Nottingham, United Kingdom

Wastelands – Wasteland Twinning involves a set of conversations between groups or 'partners'. They may talk about the type of wasteland they are most interested in, what they enjoy about it or who else uses it. Over a period of months the two partners then find a specific theme or issue that they would like to express during a 'twinning ceremony'. Having decided on a time together the two groups then carry out the ceremony at the same time. A twinning agreement is signed by those witnessing the event and the two wastelands are now twinned! Documentation of the process and event are posted online. Twinning Wastelands has brought together a great many people from around the world. It has created a catalyst for discussion and exchange between researchers and citizens, 'experts' and 'non-experts' from a wide variety of ages, backgrounds and disciplines.

While city twinning itself emerged as a means to foster greater international dialogue and exchange post WWI and WWII, it has since been hijacked by corporations as a means to socially qualify their business transactions. This process therefore emerged from a set of conversations around the value and virtue of urban wastelands and a means by which to subsequently re-hijack the process of 'twinning' itself. Wasteland Twinning Network aspires towards a permanent policy advisory role within the United Nations, concerning the benefits of the global wasteland phenomena. In the short term the process of twinning itself acts as an idea or a process around which groups and individuals may pivot and exchange knowledges. This relatively horizontal organization structure requires a high degree of flexibility and operates through a decentralized process whereby individuals and groups are offered intellectual, peer to peer support while seeking funding autonomously and in collaboration with other members of the network.

Location Finding a Wasteland

There must be one in your city, open your eyes! But be careful: they have a habit of disappearing... Once you have located your site and begun to explore it you might want to begin an informal conversation with anther group interested in the same kinds of spaces. These could be artists, urbanists, social scientists, activists or ecologists in another city or even country.

Official / Legal Determining Your Local Legal Ecology

Who are the stake holders in your site? Who has an interest in you being there/not being there? Find out what kind of access is available and negotiate your use of the site with respect to the local community and others. Perhaps there are people living there who don't appreciate the attention? Perhaps there are better times of the day to go exploring.... Don't put yourself at legal risk but acknowledge the fluidity of the urban landscape.

Communication Determine Some Research Methodologies

Social scientists and botanists carry an extensive set of methodologies with them when they conduct their field work. Why not do the same? Research methods can be used to conduct parallel investigations with groups in other cities or countries.

Funding Closing the Deal

Once you have a set of research data and international talking points you can choose to apply for funding to a series of local, national and international institutions. Support yourself and your team by finding some cash to pay for your twinning ceremony.

People Power Keeping It Real

Throughout your investigation people have been asking you what on earth you are doing on that wasteland all the time! Now is your chance to invite them, with the day-to-day site users you keep meeting there, into the conversation. This could take a number of weeks, months or years so get talking early! Finally, having chosen the level of engagement you feel is sustainable within your group and the twinning partner's, your ready to design a twinning ceremony.