Design for new wilderness in the peri-urban landscape

The myth of landscape as cultivated land has also changed. The idea of the wild has become part of the cultural concept of landscape. This new wil­derness will become a part of the peri-urban landscape as it meets not only the functional and ecological but also the symbolic needs of urban society. The perception of this symbolic meaning is the basis for the acceptance of wilderness in the peri-urban landscape.

To provide this perception, new wilderness with its wild vegetation must be managed in the design. Projects with wild vegetation have shown that acceptance of this kind of vegetation in urban public spaces is difficult to achieve just by explaining its ecological value. Its value is linked to an aesthetic perception which is based on a cultural concept of wilderness and not on the real object. The importance of design goals for providing access to wilderness has been demonstrated by the success of projects that include designed wild vegetation, e. g. the “Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord” (Keil 2002).

For this reason new wilderness must be designed so that it will meet the expectations of an aesthetic perception of the wild (even if this design is not visible). This design also has functional purposes but the aesthetic con­cept is needed so that the symbolic meanings of wildness become visible.