From Aard regular CCBC, a heritage management conundrum to ponder.
This is a curious situation that I heard about on metafilter.com. I have included some of the links.
Near Kaufdorf, Switzerland there is an auto junkyard that was in use from the 1930s to 1970. It has become overgrown with various forest flora and people have found it an interesting place to take photos. Recently, the Swiss government has decreed the place an environmental hazard and says that it must be cleared and paved to prevent fluids from seeping into the ground. Many people have protested on the grounds that:
- This is a valuable record of vehicles from their first wide use until the end of cheap oil;
- This is a habitat (!) for endangered species of lichens, mosses, and so on;
- This is a beautiful spectacle. (This seems to me the most compelling reason to just leave it alone.)
Now, it might be argued that allowing these vehicles to decay destroys their value as historic/archaeological data. On the other hand, your recent mention of burning buildings down to better understand the ruins you might unearth suggests to me that something might be learned by recording this process of a scrap yard returning to forest. In either case, I find the images compelling. And I do not accept the official rationale that the forest must be paved over to preserve it. (Especially after almost forty years!) But the vehicle carcasses will be auctioned off in September and the asphalt will be poured.
Myself, I love photographs from these sites, but I’m not terribly keen to visit one. I much prefer indoor auto museums where the machines are in good condition. I think the thing to do here would be to invite a bunch of painters and photographers to do projects about the site over a few months, and then clean it up. The future of the environment should trump today’s aesthetic sensibilities.
Photo by Rolf F.