Loving Orphaned Space: The Art and Science of Belonging to Earth (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2022)
5.5 x 8.25
24 color photos, 2 halftones, 5 maps
2022 John Brinkerhoff Jackson Prize, American Association of Geographers
Mrill Ingram is an environmental geographer passionate about public space as inclusive and nurturing of humans and other beings. Her book Loving Orphaned Space is a carefully crafted ode to landscapes that few of us stop to consider, even though we experience them daily. Inspired by environmental artists, Ingram counsels the reader to rethink abandoned lots and other ignored slices of land, reconceptualizing them as “orphaned” from meaningful social and ecological connection, and worthy of love and care. Clearly written and finely illustrated with numerous maps and color photographs, Loving Orphaned Space is structured around three projects where collaborations between artists and scientists bring orphaned spaces to life.
Ingram uses each fascinating example — an abandoned gas station lot on Chicago’s South Side, a hidden and channelized reach of the Bronx River, and stormwater basins in Fargo, North Dakota — to illustrate a variety of themes in environmental art and cultural geography. By attending to overlooked and disconnected spaces as containers for story and relationship, she offers insight into the consequences and meanings of deindustrialization, disinvestment, and neglect. By focusing on community collaborations that “reject the void” and create meaning in orphaned space, the book orients readers toward hope, action, and attention.