As planners and designers have turned their attentions to the blighted, vacant areas of the city, the concept of "terrain vague," has become increasingly important. Terrain Vague seeks to explore the ambiguous spaces of the city -- the places that exist outside the cultural, social, and economic circuits of urban life. From vacant lots and railroad tracks, to more diverse interstitial spaces, this collection of original essays and cases presents innovative ways of looking at marginal urban space, with studies from the United States, Europe and the Middle East, from a diverse group of planners, geographers, and urban designers.

Terrain Vague is a cooperative effort to redefine these marginal spaces as a central concept for urban planning and design. Presenting innovative ways of looking at marginal urban space, and focusing on its positive uses and aspects, the book will be of interest to all those wishing to understand our increasingly complex everyday surroundings, from planners, cultural theorists, and academics, to designers and architects.

chapter 1|23 pages


At the Edge of the Pale*
ByPatrick Barron

chapter 2|7 pages

Terrain Vague*

ByIgnasi de Solà Morales

part I|74 pages


chapter 5|13 pages

Three Meditations on the Ruins of Detroit*

ByJerry Herron

chapter 6|14 pages

Perception and Exploration of Interstitial Space

Slots in San Francisco*
ByTanu Sankalia

chapter 7|16 pages

Void Potential

Spatial Dynamics and Cultural Manifestations of Residual Spaces
ByHeike Rahmann, Marieluise Jonas

part II|66 pages


chapter 8|7 pages


ByFrancesco Careri

chapter 9|16 pages

On the Threshold

Terrain Vague as Living Space in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker
ByStanka Radović

chapter 10|8 pages

Paradoxical Spaces

ByGuy Königstein

chapter 11|15 pages

Garbage Arcadia

Digging for Choruses in Fresh Kills
ByJennifer Scappettone

chapter 12|18 pages

Isn't All Public Space Terrain Vague?

ByKaren A. Franck

part III|78 pages


chapter 13|14 pages

Notions of Nature and a Model for Managed Urban Wilds

ByJill Desimini

chapter 14|14 pages

Interim Spaces

Vacant Land, Creativity, and Innovation in the Context of Uncertainty
ByKrystallia Kamvasinou, Marion Roberts

chapter 15|15 pages

The Interstitial Challenge

Manifestations of Terrain Vague in Detroit and Clichy-sous-Bois, Paris
ByJim Stevens, Anirban Adhya

chapter 16|14 pages

Following the Berlin Wall

ByElizabeth Golden

chapter 17|19 pages

Vague Recollections

Obscurity and Uncertainty in Contemporary Public Memorials
ByQuentin Stevens