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Europe’s New Edgelands

project

Even though Europe’s population is growing more slowly than that of other continents, in the last twenty five years the European urban/rural divide has become evermore difficult to define as many urban dwellers choose to live beyond the city suburbs, thereby extending and blurring suburban boundaries. New ‘metropolitan areas’ are developing around Europe’s cities, (what become) their satellite towns and along our main transport corridors. The new edge-land communities, unlike the traditional settlements they replace, often lack social cohesion and are sometimes perceived as little more than “dormitory communities” – even by the inhabitants themselves. Yet, despite the economic crises, they continue to grow. There is also a real risk that existing legislation protecting the environment in these areas will be “relaxed” in a bid to stimulate national economies and the local construction industries.

This project aims to be a necessary catalyst in the debate on peri-urban development while also documenting how our relationship with the rural landscape, historically fundamental to our various local identities, is mutating. The regional differences in approach to peri-urban development are apparent in Europe’s New Edgelands, as are the differences in socio-economic conditions and the extent of urban sprawl. The project also documents a progressive standardization in architectural styles across Europe in a period when the very idea of a united European identity seems to be increasingly under threat.

Europe’s New Edgelands studies these phenomena around several regionally important, medium sized European cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas. The cities were chosen as they individually represent very different socio-geographic and historic development models while all having populations between 250 000 and 800 000 – according to OSCE statistics, the majority of Europe’s population live in and around cities of this size.

The project documents new-build from the very last outskirts of the cities to within a radius of 30km. This is the first pan-European photographic project of its type undertaken by a single photographer. The work presented was completed between 2009 and 2013 in Croatia (Zagreb), France (Montpellier), Germany (Frankfurt), Greece (Thessaloniki), Italy (Bologna), the Netherlands (Utrecht), Poland (Krakow), Spain (Bilbao, Vittoria Gasteiz and Pamplona) and UK (Cardiff).

The photographs are taken with a new approach to a traditional topographic spirit and aesthetics and are inspired as much by, the photographs of Italian masters, Luigi Ghirri and Gabriele Basilico and architectural studios’ “computerized rendering images” as they are by the images in the in the original 1975 US exhibition curated by William Jenkins, “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape”.

Indeed, these are images using non-shift wide-angle lenses on a 35mm digital camera, as this is (in the photographer’s opinion) the most suitable approach and format in interpreting the new peri-urban development. As Ansell Adams and many photographers since, the photographer has furthermore altered the image’s visual perspective by taking the images from a height thereby also reducing the effects of lateral distortion normally associated with non-shift wide-angle lenses and the subsequent need for post-production correction.

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Netherlands

Vleuten, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Germany

Riedberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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Spain

Galea, Getxo near Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain.
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France

Lattes near Montpellier, France.
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Croatia

Brezje, Sveta Nedelja near Zagreb, Croatia.
Case ecologiche, San Giovanni in Persiceto.Ecological homes, San Giovanni in Persiceto.
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Italy

San Giovanni in Persiceto near Bologna, Italy.
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Poland

Brzozowka near Krakow, Poland.
Rhodri Jones ©
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Wales

Llywellyn’s view estate, Gilfach Goch near Cardiff, Wales.
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Netherlands

Vathorst, Amersford near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Poland

Swiatniki Gorne near Krakow, Poland.
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Germany

King’s Camp, Oberursel near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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France

Home with decorated sound-barrier wall, Villeneuve-Les-Maguelone, near Montpellier, France.
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Germany

Riedberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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France

House in construction, Mauguio near Montpellier, France.
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Germany

Construction at ex chocolate factory in Hattersheim near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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Netherlands

Housing under construction, Cothen near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Greece

Unfinished housing project, Triado near Thessaloniki, Greece.
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Croatia

“We’re now ready for smart kids”, new housing estate Samobor near Zagreb, Croatia.
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Spain

House for sale, Sopelana, near Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain.
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Netherlands

Mixed housing in Vathorst, Amersford near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Wales

Wimpey home estate, Lychgate Gardens in Radyr, Cardiff, Wales.
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Croatia

New apartment buldings in Jaruscica Laniste on the outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia
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Netherlands

Apartment blocks in Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Netherlands

Apartment blocks in Houten, near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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France

Apartment buildings in Palavas-Les-Flots near Montpellier, France.
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Spain

New apartment buildings in Beriain near Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.
Edifici con appartamenti privati, San Giorgio di Piano.Private residential flats, San Giorgio di Piano.
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Italy

Residential flats, San Giorgio di Piano near Bologna, Italy.
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Spain

New apartment buildings, Asua near Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain.
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Wales

New housing, Barry port near Cardiff, Wales.
Casolare tradizionale e edifici nuovi, Budrio.Traditional farmhouse and new buildings, Budrio.
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Italy

An old farmhouse and new construction projects in Budrio near Bologna, Italy.
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Croatia

Wooden buildings in “traditional” style, Samobor near Zagreb, Croatia.
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Spain

An old farmhouse with new apartment buildings, Urduliz, near Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain.
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Spain

Unfinished new apartment buildings in Berriozar, near Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.
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Croatia

Unfinished apartment blocks in Bistrac near Zagreb, Croatia.
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Poland

Abandoned housing estate, Podleze near Krakow, Poland.
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Greece

Abandoned housing project in Zep Kisos near Thessaloniki, Greece.
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Germany

Phoenix Park Shopping centre in Eshborn, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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Croatia

Commercial outlets on outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia.
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France

Shopping centre in Saint Aunès near Montpellier, France.
Rhodri Jones ©
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Wales

Supermarket in Aberdare near Cardiff, Wales.
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Netherlands

Industrial Units for sale/hire, Bunnik, near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Greece

Fashion Outlet on outskirts of Thessaloniki, Greece.
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Poland

Supermarket in Klaj near Krakow, Poland.
Edificio commerciale, Centergross, Funo, Argelato.Commercial building, Centergross, Funo, Argelato
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Italy

Commercial units in Funo near Bologna, Italy.
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France

Commercial buildings in Pérols near Montpellier, France.
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France

Commercial building in Mauguio near Montpellier, France.
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Poland

Tyniecka near Krakow, Poland.
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Spain

Commercial buildings in Noain near Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.
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Netherlands

Office building made of aluminium in Houten, near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Spain

Technology Park in Derio near Bilbao Airport, Basque Country, Spain.
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Germany

Logistics building in Walldorf, near Frankfurt am Main airport, Germany.
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Wales

Recycling plant in Aberdare near, Cardiff, Wales.
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Spain

Commercial building in Gadalkao near Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain.
Edificio commerciale, Centergross, Funo, Argelato.Commercial building, Centergross, Funo, Argelato.
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Italy

Industrial estate in Funo near Bologna, Italy.
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Germany

Car park silo in Eshborn, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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Netherlands

Offices in Leidsche Rijn, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Germany

Offices in Eshborn, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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Netherlands

Offices in Houten, near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Edifici logistici in costruzione, Interporto, Castagnolo Minore, Bentivoglio.Logistical warehouses under construction, Castagnolo Minore, Bentivoglio.
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Italy

Logistics warehouse under construction, Bentivoglio near Bologna, Italy.
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Greece

Empty office spaces in Thermi near Thessaloniki, Greece.
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Wales

Empty offices at Celtic Horizon industrial estate near Cardiff, Wales.
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Netherlands

New industrial Unit for sale/hire in Houten, near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Greece

Unfinished echnology Park on the outskirts of Thesaloniki, Greece.
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Spain

New Caja Vital Kutxa (local bank) in Vittoria Gasteiz, Araba, Spain.
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France

Gymnase Georges Freche on the outskirts of Montpellier, France.
Scuola materna, Argelato.Nursery school, Argelato.
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Italy

Nursery school in Argelato near Bologna, Italy.
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Netherlands

School, Wijk bij Duurstede, near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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France

New Lycee on the outskirts of Montpellier, France.
Chiesa nuova, Castel Maggiore.New church, Castel Maggiore.
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Italy

New church, Castel Maggiore near Bologna, Italy.
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Netherlands

Water works, Houten, near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
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Croatia

A private health clinic in Brezovica near Zagreb, Croatia.
Distributore di carburante con servizi accessori, Argelato.Petrol station with extra services, Argelato.
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Italy

Petrol station with extra services, Argelato near Bologna, Italy.
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Spain

Football stadium in Urduliz near Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain.
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Wales

Bingo hall, Nant Garw near Cardiff, Wales.
Cinema multisala, Sant’Agata Bolognese.Multiplex cinema, Sant’Agata Bolognese.
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Italy

Multiplex cinema, Sant’Agata Bolognese near Bologna, Italy.
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France

Restaurant in Perols industrial park near Montpellier, France.
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Greece

Shopping centre’s amusement park near Thessaloniki airport, Greece.
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France

Aquarium and Planetarium outside the Odysseum shopping complex on the outskirts of Montpellier, France.
Piscina, Castello d’Argile.Swiming pool, Castello d’Argile.
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Italy

Swiming pool, Castello d’Argile near Bologna, Italy.
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France

Publicity hoardings, Mauguio near Montpellier, France.
Tabelloni pubblicitari, Bentivoglio.Publicity hoardings, Bentivoglio.
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Italy

Publicity hoardings, Bentivoglio near Bologna, Italy.
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Poland

Publicity hoarding, Klaj near Krakow, Poland.
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Wales

Sky TV van in new estate, Cwm Bach, Aberdare near Cardiff, Wales.
Pubblicità e albero di Natale, Centergross, Funo, Argelato.Publicity hoarding and Christmas tree, Centergross,  Funo, Argelato.
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Italy

Publicity hoarding and Christmas tree, Funo near Bologna, Italy.
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Netherlands

Roundabout on N204, Ijsselstein near Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Alta velocità, Ponte Samoggia.High speed train, Ponte Samoggia.
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Italy

High-speed train, Ponte Samoggia near Bologna, Italy.
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Poland

Motorway under construction, Klaj near Krakow, Poland.
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Germany

New pylons being built near Wicker, Floersheim, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
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Poland

Sound-barriers, Niepolomice near Krakow, Poland.
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Wales

Insignia for “paintball centre” in Pentyrch near Cardiff, Wales.
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Poland

Picnic area in national park, Niepolomice near Krakow, Poland.
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Greece

Fig tree and supermarket, Thermi near Thessaloniki, Greece.
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France

Tree and new housing estate, Jacou near Montpellier, France.
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France

Saint Aunés Retail Park near Montpellier, France.
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Croatia

New buildings in Velika Mlaka near Zagreb, Croatia.
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Poland

Billboards advertising a country housing project in central Krakow, Poland.