papers / Journal Articles
From Heroes' Groves to Parks of Peace:
landscapes of remembrance, protest and peace.
The public space surrounding war memorials and military monuments
has always been important in the iconography of remembrance. In
the nineteenth century these spaces often took the form of garden
cemeteries and memorial plantations; after the First World War large
tracts of former battlefield were preserved as sacred spaces which
were essential to the process of ritual pilgrimage.
After 1945 there was a considerable shift in the landscapes of war:
memorial schemes more often took a pragmatic and utilitarian form,
and desolated cities such as Hiroshima (and to a lesser extent Dresden
and Coventry) became the cornerstone for anti-war movements in the
late 1950s and 1960s. This period saw the emergence of a symbolic
landscape of protest, which often co-existed uncomfortably as a
place of tourism. Through a study of such sites the paper analyses
the various types of 'peace landscape' from environmental schemes
such as trans-border parks to political interventions in the form
of peace gardens. In the final section a recent design competition
for a peace park in Turkey is examined and compared with similar
complex environments in the US and Northern Ireland.
'A monumental effort' - memorials as loci of official memory and
remembrance The decade after the First World War has been defined
as the 'monumental phase' (Becker, 1994 in Clout,
1998). The definition is justified: thirty thousand French
war memorials were raised between 1920 - 1925 (Dyer,1994,
p.64). In 1923 the Imperial War Graves Commission was shipping
4,000 headstones a week to supply more than 500 British and Empire
cemeteries in Flanders alone (CWGC Annual Report
1998, p.19). All over Britain thousands of plaques, statues,
monuments, buildings and gardens were designed, erected and dedicated
to the memory of those who had died on foreign soil (Boorman,
1988). In just three days, 400,000 people filed past the
Cenotaph when it was unveiled in November 1920 (Greenberg,
Morgan (1998) reminds us that, historically,
civic art has been used to contain and convey memory. It exists
not merely as an aesthetic device but also as 'an apparatus of social
memory' (Morgan, 1998, p.103), a phenomenon
Boyer (1996) first described as 'rhetorical
'those civic compositions that teach us about
our national heritage and our public responsibilities
War memorials have become increasingly valued as loci of local,
civic and national memory. Yet their meaning is rarely fixed. Hynes
(1990) suggests that the end of the monumental
phase should have served as 'an act of official closure' (Hynes,
1990, p. 270). Instead, the symbolic function of war memorials
remained fluid and open. Indeed, many monuments to conflict have
been described as curiously 'inarticulate' (Hubbard,
1984, p.25), needing to be regularly re-appraised so that
their 'proper meaning' might be constantly re-affirmed. King (1998)
suggests that this dilemma has always existed. He draws attention
to the public debates in Britain in the 1920s when public authorities
and the press attempted to assign a correct meaning to public memorials,
'to make sure the memory is a right memory' (Birmingham
Post, 4 July, 1925).
and assume that the urban landscape itself is the emblematic embodiment
of power and memory
(Boyer, 1996, p.32).
It may seem odd, continues King (1998, p.3),
that such conventional objects should arouse such anxieties, that
national icons of reverence and remembrance should have once seemed
so complex and elusive. But this is to ignore the complex debates
about the way in which memorials encapsulate and perpetuate memory.
As Johnson (1995) tells us, such sites
of memory are rarely arbitrary assignations: instead they are 'consciously
situated to connect or compete with existing nodes of collective
More recently in Britain, collective memory (as it relates to military
conflict) has focused almost exclusively on remembrance and its
attendant rituals. Over the past decade, there has been a spreading
orthodoxy of ritual remembrance. As evidence we might cite the Royal
British Legion campaign to impose a universal two-minute silence
on November 11th (Sekuless and Rees, 1996),
the pressure to wear poppies (led by public institutions such as
the BBC), the burgeoning membership of remembrance societies, and
growing participation in battlefield tourism (Lloyd,
The culture of remembrance has become the dominant motif in our
common understanding of war memorials and their contextualising
landscapes. As a result memorials have become inextricably linked
with ideas of reverence, obedience, and mythic chivalry: 'the discourse
of Big Words' as Hynes (1990, p.270)
terms it. This, however, obscures the historic reality in which
some war memorials and monuments have been foci of dissent, civilian
protest and political agitation.
Memorials as a focus of dissent and protest
It has been argued that the belligerence and rampant nationalism
of First World War propaganda helped fuel the revulsion against
war that was widespread in Britain during the late 1920s and 1930s
(Fussell, 1975, Hynes, 1990). The manifestation
of anti-war feeling in fiction, memoir and theatre has been especially
well documented (Fussell, 1975; Cecil, 1997
; Ferguson, 1998). During this period it is also possible
to detect a subtle shift in the political intentions of the customary
rituals of remembrance. In 1921 the Armistice Day ceremonies were
disrupted by groups of unemployed ex-servicemen with placards stating:
'The Dead are remembered but we are forgotten' (Dyer,
1994, p.51). At subsequent ceremonies white peace poppies
were sold by the Peace Pledge Union; increasingly the anti-war lobby
learned to infiltrate the sacred moments of ritual memory.
In May-June 1926 the Women's International League for Peace and
Freedom organised a Peace Pilgrimage throughout Britain. By this
date, pilgrimage had become an integral part of the perpetuation
of martial memory. Indeed, over 10,000 pilgrims would make a 10th
anniversary return to the Western Front in 1928 (Norval,
1936, p.48; Lloyd, 1998, p.33). The women's march, however,
was not concerned with remembrance, it was aimed to force the government
to move ahead on peace legislation and to demand a world disarmament
conference. In 1929 the annual Armistice Service at the Cenotaph
in London ran to the customary schedule but with markedly fewer
troops on duty. When questioned in Parliament, the then Home Secretary
replied that 'public feeling' demanded that 'these ceremonies should
partake of a civilian aspect more and more' (Parliamentary
Debates, 31 October 1929, in Hynes, 1990, p.466). Yet despite
the marches, protests and interventions there are few physical manifestations
of the pacifist feeling during the late 1920s and 1930s. Even onthe
eve of the Second World War the accent was still on mass pilgrimage
to revered battle sites: in 1936 6,000 Canadians took part in the
'Vimy Pilgrimage' to Artois for the unveiling of Allward's memorial
on Hill 145. In the year that war was declared an estimated 160,000
pilgrims visited France and Belgium (Vance,
1997 ; Lloyd, 1998).
The impact of commemoration on the landscape during this same period
has been well documented (Coombs, 1976; Mosse,
1990 ; Borg, 1991; Middlebrook, 1991; Heffernan, 1995 ; Winter,
1995 ; Gough, 1996). Collectively, these landscapes - encompassing
military cemeteries, tracts of preserved battlefield, ornamental
displays - have been treated generically as 'spaces, parks or gardens
of remembrance'. Mosse (1990) has perhaps
been the most discursive in identifying the various ways by which
nature has been appropriated to celebrate the cult of the fallen
soldier in the period before and immediately after the Great War.
Using the collective term - parks of remembrance - he identifies
the Heldenhaine or Heroes' Groves in Germany, the French jardins
Funebres, the Parco della Rimembranza in Italy, and the military
cemeteries built by the Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves
Commission (Mosse, 1990, p 43 - 59).
Mosse articulates the subtle iconographic and aboreal differences
between the several landscapes of remembrance. He distinguishes
the pantheistic symbolism of the Heroes' Grove (where Mother Nature
is conterminous with the Fatherland) from the democratic layout
of cemeteries designed for the dead of the British Empire. Here,
order, tidiness and rationality are combined with indigenous planting
schemes to evoke an archetypal English country churchyard.
Twenty years after the end of the First World War, the peace movement
in Britain had instigated a re-appraisal of the symbolic function
of sites of remembrance, even though it had left little physical
mark on the commemorative landscape. The threat of nuclear proliferation
in the post 1945 period also saw wholesale revisions in the iconography
and symbolism of landscapes of remembrance. Before turning to address
in detail the transition from parks of remembrance to parks for
peace weshould first summarise the elements that comprise the topography
of commemoration. Table One identifies the key types of commemorative,
memorial and political sites.
Former battlefield - a preserved environment marked with memorials
and monuments, the focus for ritual remembrance at designated anniversaries
Military cemetery - a burial place near or on the site of former
conflict, which often serves as the focus for remembrance ceremonies
(Figure 2 )
Garden of remembrance - a public place designed and designated as
a focal point for specific memory; some gardens have been located
over the site of a particular tragedy
Monumental sites - a war memorial or building of remembrance, and
the public space surrounding it, which may be laid out in a semi-formal
design such as an avenue or square; may also include temporary installations
of flowers, wreaths to accompany annual rituals of remembrance (Figure
Trans-global site - "twinned"gardens or parks in different
countries (often on different continents), established to promote
peaceful causes between former adversaries
Trans-border site - cross-frontier site declared a de-militarised
buffer zone to promote exchange and to diffuse political differences;
often located within an ecologically sensitive area of unique bio-diversity
Peace garden - a designated public space that is planted, decorated
and dedicated to the promotion of peace (Figure 4 & 5)
Peace route - a pilgrimage route or heritage trail that links a
network of commemorative sites and memorials
Peace camp - an unofficial, often informal and transitory site located
close to a militarised, politicised or commercial development site
Peace event - festivals, marches, and other gatherings campaigning
for peace which may result in temporary installations and semi-permanent
'A Terrible Warning' - peace parks as protest in
the nuclear period
On 6th August 1945 the city of Hiroshima was virtually obliterated
by a nuclear bomb. More than 85,600 houses were destroyed, over
80,000 people died. The population of the city was reduced from
419,182 to 136,518. Four years later, during a period of frenzied
reconstruction, the Japanese government passed a 'Law for the Construction
of the Hiroshima Peace Commemorating City' which designated the
city as 'the symbol of the human ideal for eternal peace' (Hasegawa,
1952, p.96). Amongst the principle projects for the 'peace
the Peace Hall project, comprising a 12 hectare island located at
the epicentre of the atomic bomb explosion which consisted of a
conference hall, a Peace Square (for up to 20,000 persons), a Peace
Arch with bells, a memorial chapel, and the preserved remains of
the Industrial Promotion Dome building which was one of the few
structures left remaining after the blast ;
the Peace Park project, on a 210 acre plot sharing part of the Peace
Hall, comprising a children's centre (with libraries, playgrounds,
camping lots, etc) and an International Culture centre.
Additional projects included a 100 metre wide Peace Boulevard running
west to east, symbolising the road to peace and forming a greenbelt
around the city. Hiroshima City is traversed by seven rivers requiring
52 spans of bridges. These were regarded as important symbols of
the links uniting one culture with another and were designated 'peace
The massive 15 year reconstruction project in Hiroshima became the
model for other post-war rebuilding programmes in Asia and Europe.
As a self-declared 'Mecca of Peace' the city also provided the template
for the iconography of the anti-nuclear peace movement in subsequent
decades. However, this was not achieved without some ideological
disputes. Many Japanese were troubled at the Americanised designs
of the memorial buildings; others were concerned that the memorial
grounds would be profaned by the influx of tourists. Many citizens
could not reconcile the city's status as the city of peace with
profits earned from mass pilgrimage. Many of these anxieties focused
on the plan to preserve the A-Bomb Dome monument. Once the city's
Industrial Promotion Hall, it had been at the hypocentre of the
bomb's blast in August 1945 and was one of the few buildings left
standing. Many argued that it should be removed because its function
as a prime tourist site defiled its near-sacred status; others wanted
it to remain as a reminder of the horror of war, as a warning against
complacency. The issue was resolved in the late 1960s when funds
were raised to keep the Dome and preserve its charred, skeletal
appearance. It stands today, resisting the decline into benign picturesqueness
that often befalls European battle ruins.
As a peace city, Hiroshima functions simultaneously as a reliquary,
a funerary site, a civilian battlefield, and as a locus of political
and social debate. The Peace Park has become the cornerstone for
the movement against nuclear warfare; August 6th has become an international
day for peace demonstrations with Hiroshima as its symbolic centre.
Satellite sites have appeared all over the world (Lifton,
1967). Invariably, these have taken the form of city, state
and trans-national peace gardensand parks whose overarching concept
is that they should be both 'a commemoration and a warning' (McKean,
This concept became a working reality in the United Kingdom during
the early- and mid-1980s when a group of London-based architects,
planners and environmentalists formed 'Architects for Peace' to
work for 'the abolition of nuclear arms and other weapons of mass-destruction
world-wide' (McKean, 1989, p.3). It was
one of many groups established in the UK during the mid 1980s to
promote the cause of world peace. Similar groups such as Avenues
for Peace, Civil Engineers for Nuclear Disarmament, and the Nuclear
Free Zones Steering Committee invited fellow professionals in the
built and landscaped environment to support the aims of world peace
and disarmament and to work towards designing physical spaces which
conveyed that message. Beyond the anti-war message there was a political
and social sub-text: namely that any planting scheme should also
try to 'encourage and stimulate activity and interest, creativity
and enjoyment among its community. Its focus should be on the positive,
life-nurturing, life-seeking potential embodied in the concepts
of peace, harmony and conviviality' (McKean,
Sympathetic local authorities saw that a number of such sites were
realised. Some were simple symbolic gestures (Figure 6) ; a two
metre high Peace Pillar in Chapelfield, Norwich for example, which
once symbolised the council's position on nuclear proliferation,
is inscribed with a non-political message of reconciliation and
contemplation - 'May Peace Prevail on Earth' (note
1). In London between 1982 and 1985, a network of peace gardens
was funded, designed and built as part of the Greater London Council's
(GLC) campaign for unilateral nuclear disarmament. Gardens in Camden,
Haringey, Hackney and Burgess Park drew their symbolic inspiration,
design and iconography from the stock language of the peace movement
- inscribed stone tablets, white peace doves carved into pergolas
and woodwork, plants and trees drawn from a strict lexicon of appropriate
'peace vegetation'. These formalised settings were meant to inspire
non-professional, local community groups to design informal gardens
as a means of registering their protest against the arms race. Lobby
groups such as 'Architects for Peace' argued that the act of planting
and caring for a communal garden could help to unify and politicise
a community. The fashion for peace gardens, flowerbeds, rocks, ponds
and trees spread throughout Labour-held municipal authorities. Some,
such as the dove-shaped floral design at Hebden Bridge (Yorkshire),
did not survive changes in local politics; others, such as the Peace
Pagoda in Battersea, London, or the Japanese Cherry grove in Castle
Park, Bristol, remain even though their original intentions are
now obscure (Figure 7).
The vestiges of this protest movement persist. A peace garden is
currently being planned by various pressure groups at the site of
the former United States tactical missiles squadron base at Greenham
Common, Berkshire which was the focus of prolonged anti-nuclear
protests and the site of a peace camp in the late 1970s and early
1980s. Initial designs suggested that the garden would take the
form of a field of lavender or a 'peace avenue' which would run
across the line of the main runway, symbolically negating its martial
orientation (Treneman, 1998, p.1) However,
the winning entry in a recent design competition suggested that
the runways should be flooded to create a waterpark linked by canals
'Promoting Friendship and understanding'
- landscapes of co-operation
Most peace gardens are tiny in scale and reflective in character.
By comparison, trans-national peace parks can span several continents
and straddle lengthy national borders. Poland and Czechoslovakia
pioneered the concept of international co-operation through cross-border
parks with the signing of the Krakow Protokol in 1925 (McKean,
1989). The first cross-border park to be realised was dedicated
in 1932 by the Canadian Parliament and the US Congress by symbolically
joining the Glacier National Park in Montana with the Waterton Lakes
National Park in Canada to create an international peace park celebrating
the long relationship of peace and goodwill between the two countries
In the past 50 years a considerable number of peace parks have been
established along international frontiers. Often such areas are
thinly populated, and many follow the crest line of a mountain range.
It has proved to be politically advantageous for some belligerent
neighbours to devise protected areas as a demilitarized buffer-zone.
In this respect a 'peace park' operates as a neutral zone with agreed
lines of communication between conflicting parties. Brock has identified
the interrelationship between peace and environmental issues arguing
environmental co-operation and networking on a
transnational level,including the communal level, may help to
develop a public awareness
We can illustrate this linkage with examples drawn from Central
America where a number of peace parks have been declared along the
borders between Costa Rica and Panama, Panama and Columbia, Mexico
and Guatemala, and in the tri-national areas between Guatemala,
Honduras, and El Salvador (Arias et al, 1992).
These landscapes consist of protected areas such as national parks
and biosphere reserves, as well as socially deprived and economically
blighted urban areas (Weed, 1994). Through
being re-defined as 'peace parks' they have become the physical
embodiment and focus of the will to resolve regional conflict and
help nurture biological, social and economic benefits (note
of national, regional and global environmental problems in their
specific economic and social context ; this in turn could have
influence on the formulation of national or regional politics.
(Brock, 1991, p.421)
The Costa Rican trans-border parks are dedicated both to peace between
conflicting parties and to peace between humanity and the planet,
the latter focused on attempts to preserve the rainforest. The Amistad
(Friendship) International Park between Panama and Costa Rica, announced
in 1979, has brought together two countries to protect and manage
the highest diversity of plant species in Central America. Although
such parks act also as buffer - and mediation-zones between two
acrimonious neighbours, there is a risk that by confining 'peace'
to designated spaces, they increase and condone commercial exploitation
and environmental damage in adjacent territories (Du
Saussay, 1980, Brock, 1991). This aside, trans-border peace
parks offer 'alternative visions for the border regions that hitherto
have been military staging grounds and fields of battle' (Renner,
Elsewhere, cross-border peace parks have been constructed as a way
of celebrating shared harmonious relations between two countries,
such as the International Peace Garden in North America which straddles
the US-Canadian border between Manitoba and North Dakota. They have
also been devised to nurturebetter relations between indifferent
neighbours; such is the case at the Evros River Park which runs
along the border of Turkey and Greece (Thorsell,
There is a spreading recognition that transfrontier parks can be
directly instrumental in a peace process. A recent (1998) conference
organised by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) recommended that
a Southern Africa working group be established to promote the conservation
of biodiversity and sustainable development and therefore contribute
to international co-operation and regional peace and stability (note
3). Trans-border spaces can fulfil a commemorative as well as
an instrumental function. In August 1999 a Peace Chapel was opened
on the Franco-German border between Sierck-les-Bains and Perl. Out
of a desire for unity and reconciliation the local men of the adjacent
French and German communes who died in the two world wars are listed
in alphabetical order and without distinction of nationality (Holstein,
Not all peace parks occupy parallel or physically adjacent spaces.
The Seattle-Tashkent Peace Park was devised as a trans-global twinned
site on two continents. The idea for a twin-site park was developed
by Ploughshares, an organisation of former Peace Corps volunteers,
in the late 1980s. Their ambition was to design and build gardens
in Seattle (USA) and Tashkent (former USSR) as a way of forging
bonds between American and Soviet citizens. In addition to its peace-bridging
concept, the scheme brought together enthusiastic and committed
volunteers and professional design teams in both countries (Oakrock,
1988). The design for the Seattle garden used many of the
iconographic forms of the anti-nuclear campaign: an orchard of flowering
'friendship' trees, a wildflower meadow, curved walkways that breach
brick walls and a five metre-diameter topographical mosaic sculpture
of the earth. It was intended that the Tashkent garden would have
many similar features but with a greater emphasis on soil, plant
and material exchange; 10,000 ceramic tiles, for example, were handpainted
by Seattle schoolchildren to line a central pool and irrigation
channels of a 'Friendship Grove'. To complement the symmetrical
planting schema, an American and Soviet sculptor cast an identical
aluminium sculpture on each site. (note
The concept of a trans-global park is a variant on the anti-nuclear
war peace gardens that have proliferated since 1945. They draw inspiration
largely from the Hiroshima Peace Park which still provides the iconic
language and the symbolic imagery of the anti-war landscape.
Landscapes of peace, remembrance and resolution
: Gallipoli, Hains Point and Northern Ireland
Having considered the peace gardens of the nuclear age and the proliferation
of trans-frontier parks, we shall next examine three very different
landscapes where attempts have been made to articulate concepts
of peace. The first case study in Turkey explores a complex geo-political
environment with many conflicting political and historical agendas.
Our second example touches on the issues raised by a bold and emphatic
design for a new site in Washington, DC. The third case study, set
in Northern Ireland, provides an insight into the fluid processes
at work in a nascent peace environment.
The Gallipoli Peninsula (western Turkey) stretches 80 kms from the
Sea of Marmora in the north-east to Cape Helles in the south-west.
Characterised by steep shelving beaches on its southern aspect and
broader salt flats to the north, the terrain inland is a rolling
plateau of pine forest and arable land, with poor scrubland along
much of the coastal tip (Figure 8). In 1915 a British-Commonwealth
alliance, joinedby French, Italian and Greek armed forces, staged
a daring amphibious landing on the southernmost beaches of the peninsula.
The Allies' aim was to seize the Dardanelles, advance on Istanbul
and knock Turkey out of the war. The ambitious plan failed. Allied
troops gained only a precarious hold on the beaches and were pinned
to the coastal perimeter for eight months until evacuation in January
1916. Over 160,000 soldiers died during that time; most are buried
on the peninsula, not all in marked graves. The campaign is regarded
by many as the beginning of an Australian and New Zealand nationalism.
For Turkey, the battle was the sole victory of five campaigns and
a seminal moment in its development as a modern, secular nation.
The peninsula is strewn with war memorials, battlefield museums,
facsimile trench lines and cemeteries. The main period of cemetery
planning and memorial building took place in the 1920s when the
Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission (CWGC) assumed
responsibility for siting and planning 31 cemeteries and five Allied
memorials (Longworth, 1967). There was
no comparable response from the Turkish authorities until the 1950s,
and then again in the late 1960s when a number of imposing modernist
structures were built at Cape Helles, the most southern point of
the peninsula. In the past decade a number of traditional Islamic
memorial sites have been built, and in the last five years several
large statues have been located at Anzac and Helles. Although the
war ended here in 1916, a battle for monumental supremacy has been
waged ever since. Turkish and Commonwealth memorial sites are located
close to each other on the cliffs over the once disputed beaches,
and giant statues of Turkish heroes stand face-to-face with CWGC
neo-classical obelisks, locked in 'parallel monologues' (Ayliffe
et al, 1991). On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the Allied
landings the Turkish authorities supplemented the martial statuary
with an ambitious planting regime designed to dress the battlefield
with appropriate symbolic floral designs (Gough,
On 19 May 1997 the Turkish government announced a competition for
a park dedicated to peace at Gallipoli. Entries were invited for
a new 330,000 hectare park that spanned the length of the peninsula
and which would incorporate the existing Peninsula National Historical
Park established in 1973. The competition also asked design teams
to address the larger issues of global peace. Applicants, it was
argued, should embrace 'the rich mix of historical, natural, archaeological,
cultural and human values' which helped define the many aspects
of the peninsula. Above all, teams should strive to create radical
and ambitious schemes:
Fine tuning is simply not enough, the Park needs
a supra-identity whichtranscends and transforms. Peace is the
This ambitious concept had, however, to operate within the limitations
of exhaustive planning criteria. These included developing tourist
facilities, protecting ecologically sensitive areas, incorporating
an intercontinental bridge and roadways through the park, while
at all times remaining sensitive to local traditions and to the
economic development plan for the region. Above all, the winning
scheme had to resolve the longstanding antipathy between those national
and patriotic interest groups who claimed moral and emotional ownership
of the battlefields as sites of memory (Winter,
1995; Gough, 1996). The national government made it clear
that the competition was a way of highlighting and resolving the
complex political, economic and environmental issues that existed
in the peninsula. The rewards were substantial: US $765,000 to be
divided between twenty-five winners, decided by an international
committee drawn from seven countries. One of the London-based design
teams working on a submission characterised their task in this way:
supra-identity for the Park
(Gallipoli brief, 1997).
The challenge of this ... competition is to devise
the big idea -the idea that cuts through the bewildering amount
of detail, the
Such ambitious aims were matched by the scale of the task. The Gallipoli
Peninsula is a complex site containing ecologically sensitive areas,
tracts of wilderness, ruins and reconstructions, sites of historic
and current conflict, inhabited and emptied places. Any design group
preparing a submission would have to reconcile these differences,
drawing on the umbrella term of ‘peace’ to resolve the
multiple agendas and rival demands for the sacred places on the
prescriptive rules, the multiple agendas, to reward the individual
visitor, the local community, the nation and the world. (To create
prototypical Peace Park: the prototypical Peace Park
In the final analysis none of the shortlisted submissions claimed
to have arrived at ‘the big idea’ to unify the disparate
interests invested in the peninsula. Instead, the whining submission
- from Norway (note
5) - proposed a network of footpaths that would be created
and customised by the individual visitor (Kinzer,
1998). Modest and non-interventionist, the Norwegian submission
was predicated on the idea of personal voyages leading to global
reconciliation, an idea that would be realised largely through the
competition web-site. (note
6) The design will give 'visitors a chance to think or
speculate or reflect on what they are seeing and what it means for
the idea of world peace' (Bademli, quoted in
Kinzer, 1998). As such it offers a minimally invasive critique
of existing memorial and preserved sites, raising through its website
fundamental questions about reconciliation and commemoration rather
than offering novel planning solutions.
The outcome of the Gallipoli competition might be compared with
a similarly ambitious scheme for a national peace garden at Hains
Point, a peninsula on the Potomac River at Washington DC, USA. Here,
though, the design brief was simple and aspirational: the park's
protagonist, Elizabeth Ratcliffe, calling for a design that would
epitomise and celebrate ‘the hope of American Democracy’
(Dillingham, 1993, p.112). The winning
entry (by architect Eduardo Catalano) took the bold form of a stylised
olive branch created in parterre. This giant peace symbol was traversed
by paths and broad walks, surrounded by a berm and double row of
trees which led to an open air amphitheatre. The design, wrote Catalano,
was meant as ‘a symbol of peace, an element of nature, resting
upon nature itself. No invented patterns, pavings, walls, objects
imposed upon the ground. Only the simplicity of green on green and
the purity and virtuousness of the white flowers of the olive tree’
(Catalano in Landecker, 1990. p.73).
Compared with the diverse topography and complex socio-politics
of the Gallipoli peninsula, Hains Point was meant to be a single,
bold scheme exemplifyingthe ‘big idea’ of national and
global peace. Yet the very boldness of its design led to disapproval.
Despite congressional support, public and private funding, a prestigious
selection committee and a large application (note
7) the design was eventually rejected as ‘contrived
and even boring' (Dillingham, 1993, p.112).
Perhaps this failure indicates that the era of autonomous peace
parks has passed; landscapes of peace have now to be enmeshed within
a complex layer of environmental, ecological and regional geo-politics
to have any chance of completion. Perhaps also, any new peace landscape
must first fulfil a specific commemorative function in addition
to its advocacy of peace and reconciliation. This was certainly
the rationale, for instance, behind the proposed Garden of Remembrance
in central London, which was intended to commemorate the life of
Princess Diana while spreading more general notions of peace (Strong,
1998; Phelps, 1999). In the end, faced with local opposition
and national indifference, the proposed garden came to nothing.
In Northern Ireland, a national memorial to peace was suggested
within days of the Irish Republican Army's (IRA) cease-fire in August
1994. Five months later the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in
Dublin considered the need for utilitarian memorials rather than
symbolic monuments (Leonard, 1997, p.26).
Since that time, a wide range of sculptures, installations, environmental
schemes and other commemorative interventions have been conceived
and commissioned in the province. Many of the successful environmental
schemes follow familiar formats: for example, a planting scheme
in a riverside park in Coleraine when eleven Catholic and eleven
Protestant school children planted eleven trees in memory of those
killed in the Enniskillen bombing. Similarly, outside Northern Ireland,
a part of the new National Arboretum in Staffordshire will be planted
to commemorate those who have died during the Troubles. Other environmental
interventions suggest a more subtle commemorative approach: a crosscommunity
group, Women Together, have commissioned and erected park benches
in Belfast school playgrounds to promote communication and trust.
The need to designate neutral meeting places in Belfast city centre
was one of the recommendations of the Opsahl Commission at its concluding
conference in May 1994 who felt it was vital that
‘conferences, workshops and cultural events
could occur in a venue free from historical associations that
Unlike other sensitive ego-political territories discussed earlier,
there is as yet no single over- arching environmental scheme to
promote the peace process in Northern Ireland. Instead, many of
the more inventive (and provocative) events and interventions have
been fashioned by public artists who, by making environmental interventions,
have contributed to transitory ‘peace landscapes’. During
Easter 1996, for example, one artist chalked the name of 3,000 individuals
killed in the Troubles on the pavement of the Royal Avenue in Belfast:
in 1995 another artist erected a plywood peace dove on an empty
plinth in north Belfast. Although the dove sculpture was burnt and
destroyed, further doves have since been sited at other politically
significant sites (Leonard, 1997, p. 27 -28).
(in Leonard, 1997, p 28).
The transitory nature of many of the peace motifs in Northern Ireland
is evidence of the fragile state of the current peace agreement.
This is particularly well reflected in the winning design for a
building to host the peace talks of 1994. The design brief stipulated
that the structure should aim to defuse confrontation between negotiators;
accordingly the winning design team chose to locate the building
on an artificial island precariously overhanging the River Lagan.
To further diffuse tension and remind negotiators of their responsibilities,
the approach road comprised twenty-five unevenly sized walls, reminiscent
of border check-points, with each wall built in proportion to the
number of people killed in each year of the Troubles.
The generic label ‘peace landscape’ is often applied
unthinkingly to very different symbolic and political spaces. During
1998, for example, the term was applied equally to a ‘nature
reserve’ on the Israeli West Bank (albeit one patrolled by
security forces) and to the Lady Diana memorial garden intended
for Kensington Gardens, London. It has been argued in this paper
that gardens, parks and other formal schemes can fulfil a variety
of political and symbolic functions, from contemplation, through
protest, to recreation.
The theme of contemplation is especially significant for those landscapes
that have been preserved in their original traumatised condition.
The village of Oradour-Sur-Glane, near Limoges in central France
(site of a notorious Nazi reprisal massacre in June 1944) has been
entirely retained in its semi-desolated state. Mayo (1988)
describes it graphically as a ‘total war memorial’ which
verges on the theatrical; the monuments serve as stages, the visitor-pilgrim.
become actors recapturing the scene of the tragedy. The desolation
is punctuated by large notices requiring ‘SILENCE’
or invoking ‘REMEMBER’. ‘The
signs may seem unnecessary’, writes Mayo ‘but the visitor’s
role of silence is ensured and legitimised by these symbolic cue
cards’ (p.233). Other preserved
sites may not work as effectively; as Jackson (1984)
has pointed out, many military cemeteries and battle parks are used
as recreational space as well as places of contemplation. For instance,
in the Vimy Memorial Park (near Arras, northern France), joggers
and racing cyclists are as numerous as the Canadian tourists visiting
the preserved trenchlines and tunnels. Many loci of remembrance,
such as Verdun and the Newfoundland Memorial Park (Somme, France)
have recently had to erect signage requesting visitors to observe
behaviour and decorum appropriate to a sacred site, not a theme
park (note 9).
As memories erode it will become increasingly difficult to regard
such spaces as designated places of peace or pilgrimage. This is
not a new dilemma: mass tourism has long threatened the avowed sanctity
of such ‘sacred places’. Such ethical issues are especially
complex in globally symbolic sites.In Hiroshima the tensions over
the preservation of the A-Bomb Dome are, according to Mayo (1988)
part of a difficult question which strikes at the very roots of
our ability to provide sacred memorials that both honour the past
and its dead, while still offering visions towards a peaceful future.
In comparison with the complex semiotics of environments associated
with atrocity or warfare, transfrontier ‘peace parks’
in areas of shared ecological or landscape value avoid the ethical
dilemmas inherent in preservation and remembrance, and as such may
be considered more effective forms of ‘landscapes for peace’.
As the examples in this paper show, however, there is little guarantee
that mere designation will result in long-term good relations between
Nevertheless, the outcome of the Gallipoli Peninsula National Historical
Park competition points, perhaps, to some ways in which more ‘difficult’
sites might be approached. The winning proposal argued for a more
abstract understanding of peace, rather than one dominated by commemoration
of specific acts of warfare. Many of the short-listed entrants were
minimally invasive, with an almost non-existent impact on the landscape.
Instead of objectifying memory by siting memorials and building
museums, the winning design argued that only subjectivised and self-negotiated
journeys can be relevant in such spaces.
In Gallipoli, it was hoped that the notion of a ‘peace landscape’
might become a virtual. as well as a physical reality. Although
this has yet to be realised it is an interesting innovation. In
Belfast, too, the first markers set down in the margins of the peace
process have eschewed plinth-bound thinking for interventions that
are often fleeting and temporary. Carefully sited public artworks
have been used to critique and develop a visual language of peace
through remembrance, while still possessing the power to move. In
such places, perhaps, a genuine collaboration between artist, designer,
planner and community will extend the discourse of peace and help
generate positive political solutions.
1 Peace Pillars were erected in many places
across the world as gifts from a Japanese religious group. In London
they can be found in Dulwich Park and Tavistock Square.
2 A further pragmatic function of a park
was to act as a cordon sanitaire. This was part of the rationale,
for instance, behind the Parque Nacionale Fronterizo Darien in the
isthmus of Panama, where it was intended to control the spread of
foot-and-mouth disease into Central America.
On the 100th anniversary of the Kruger National Park, South Africa
(March1998) President Nelson Mandela disclosed that negotiations
were underway to establish a ‘peace park’ that will
transverse the borders of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Kruger National Park is renowned for its bio- diversity.
4 An active exchange
programme continues between the cities of Seattle (USA) and Tashkent
(Uzbekistan). The programme has involved school children and teachers,
mountain climbers, chefs, lawyers, broadcasters and folk dancers.
The programme is publicised on the internet: www.ci.seattle.wa.us/oir/Tashkent.htmI
(16 January 2000).
5 The Norwegian
team were Lasse Brogger and AnneStine Reine.
Internet address www.vitruvius.arch.metu.edu.tr/gallipolienglish.html
(last date available, 11 October 1999) The competition was administered
from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. There were over
110 entrants tothe competition. Of the 25 prize winners, 11 originated
from Turkey, 2 each from the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand and
Australia, and one each from Spain, France, Italy, and Israel. The
single UK team to be listed in the prizewinners (honourable mention)
was from BDG McColl, London.
See also www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/parks.htm
(16 January 2000). The web-site proposed by the winning team seems
not to have been created. The competition website is now unavailable
7 Hains Point
competition attracted 930 entries. The project received congressional
approval for the use of a federal site in 1986, the project raised
$300,000, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts
national apathy and local protest the memorial garden was quietly
shelved in late 1998.
9 At the
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placed asking visitors to observe the fountain as a monument to
the dead of two world wars, not as a place to dip one's feet.
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