Monthly Archives: March 2013

Grounds for concern: the peculiar status of school grounds

Places apart?

Key landholdings effectively divorced from their surroundings?

Sites of containment and control?

Not perhaps the conventional way to describe school grounds, but perhaps useful imagery to jolt us out of assumptions which, in the UK at least, seem so embedded and habitual that we cease to see what is before our eyes and within our daily experience.

I want to speak about school grounds – also called school playgrounds – and the way, in the UK at least, these landholdings are effectively sequestered sites, their backs turned to the local community and neighbourhood  their boundaries marked by fence, wall and bolted gate.  Although appearing on maps, our internalised local mental geographies effectively blank-out school grounds classifying them as prohibited or semi-prohibited places, achieving by ourselves what state-instructed cartographers achieve when they omit sensitive military sites from everyday maps: the erasure of place. Continue reading