Jeffrey S. Nesbit (Temple University) and Charles Waldheim (Harvard University) participate in the second edition of “The Library is Open” with a presentation of their co-edited book Technical Lands (Jovis Verlag, 2023).
Designating land as technical is a political act. Doing so entails dividing, marginalizing, and rendering portions of the Earth inaccessible. Technical lands are co-extensive with political and physical boundaries instrumentalized by their exceptional status. Their remote location, delimited boundary, and active management occlude their visibility. Technical lands include disaster exclusion and demilitarized zones, extractive industry sites, airports, and spaceports, among dozens of other typologies. Despite the recent emergence of a discourse on technical lands, our understanding of these geographies remains unclear. Technical Lands: A Critical Primer assembles authors from a diverse array of disciplines, geographies, and epistemologies to illuminate the meanings of these spaces.
Jeffrey S. Nesbit is an architect, urbanist, and founding director of the research group Grounding Design. His experience spanning over a decade includes leading design teams for public architecture and large-scale urban projects, along with managing sponsored design research projects for city governments, local institutions, and NGOs. Nesbit’s research focuses on processes of urbanization, infrastructure, and the evolution of “technical lands.” Currently, his research examines the 20th-century American spaceport complex at the intersection of architecture, infrastructure, and aerospace history. Nesbit has published several journal articles, book chapters, and is editor of Nature of Enclosure (Actar, 2022), co-editor of Technical Lands: A Critical Primer (Jovis, 2023), New Geographies 11 Extraterrestrial (Actar, 2019), Rio de Janeiro: Urban Expansion and Environment (Routledge, 2019), Chasing the City: Models for Extra-Urban Investigations (Routledge, 2018), and host and producer of three podcasts series. Nesbit is Assistant Professor in History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism at Temple University, and previously taught at several institutions, including Harvard University, Northeastern University, University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of New Mexico, and Texas Tech University. He received his Doctor of Design degree (DDes) from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Office for Urbanization.
Charles Waldheim is the John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Office for Urbanization at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is an American-Canadian architect and urbanist. Waldheim’s research examines the relations between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books on these subjects, and his writing has been published and translated internationally. Waldheim is the recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome; the Visiting Scholar Research Fellowship at the Study Centre of the Canadian Centre for Architecture; the Cullinan Chair at Rice University; and the Sanders Fellowship at the University of Michigan.