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Between Remembrance and Recreation: Containing Memory in Urban Landscapes 

Russell Rodrigo


Throughout the world, communities are increasingly concerned with remembering and documenting their histories. Monuments, memorials, and interpretive sites are being created at an accelerated pace, an international phenomenon of memorialisation which has developed since the 1980s and is unequalled since the decade after World War I. In Loose Space: Possibility and Diversity in Urban Life, Karen Franck and Quentin Stevens explore the ways in which urban landscapes, including sites of memory and reflection, are appropriated by the everyday public for uses not originally intended. Increasingly, established public spaces are being utilised as sites for the remembrance of collective trauma, producing challenges to existing understandings of the containment of individual and collective memory and public and private uses of space. In this article I argue that contemporary memorial spaces negotiate, consciously or unconsciously, the looseness of public space and the ways in which memory can be contained within urban landscapes.