Creating Experiences of Remoteness in Landscapes & Geographies

I've just written an article about the idea of remoteness for KERB (the Landscape Architecture publication from RMIT, Melbourne). Remoteness is hard to come by because everything we do is so proximal and interconnected. Learning to design spaces and paths that evoke notions of remoteness is an important task for helping people encounter a world that lacks the moments of refuge that spatial remoteness provides.

My article outlines an initial remoteness typology, describes cognition research that seems to support the value of remoteness in types of cognitive simulation and mental imagery, describes the rhetorical use of disorientation as a tool for crafting an artificial remoteness, and sets out a series of methods that landscape architects and urban planners can use to design and build remoteness into the built environment. 

I think there are two basic types of remoteness: negative (where remoteness = isolation) and positive (where remoteness = refuge). Both types entail a series of design requirements that shape the experience.

Here's how this fits with some of my other projects (like Geologic Cognition Society): I feel that remoteness should be a heritage resource that people have access to because it is brings the larger oceanic sensations of our experience of the size of the earth to the foreground of our attention. It gives us a tool that lets us see ourselves in scale with the earth, an important process in this time of the Internet of Things, the felt effects of the Anthropocene.

It is important to see our smallness with respect to the largeness of the earth. and the disjunction in people's minds between experienced local climate conditions and global climate conditions is a clear example of the fact that we don't comprehend the geologic scale of the earth as a system. 

The issue comes out in August, and I'll be posting more about the topic of Remoteness as time goes by. I'll post a link to the issue when it publishes.