“The special fascination of the brownfields lies in the idiosyncratic and unusual combination of wild nature and industrial relics that bear testimony to the areas’ past: they can be overgrown ruins of old colliery buildings, but also just the remains of a railroad track in the middle of a birch forest — a special, exciting atmosphere always emerges from the contrast between the industrial past and its recapture by nature.”
Kommunalverband Ruhr (local government association of the Ruhr region), 1999
The wilds are not what they used to be. In times of intensifying climate change and corresponding disasters, the centuries-old trope of the jungle as a pandemonium of untamed, uncontrollable forces loses its currency and poetic appeal. Bygone notions of nature’s brutal power, something to be mastered and civilised, are supplanted by a better understanding of intricate, fragile ecosystems that need to be preserved and protected.