zondag 2 oktober 2011

Guide to the city wilderness

Doris Denekamp's bilingual 'Handboek voor de Stadswildernis' (2011) is a portable booklet offering tools, experiences, and techniques you will need to know if you want to live successfully in the margins of the urban landscape. There is a small section of edible plants, there are pictorial guides for the assembly of a makeshift tents and a firewood stove, but the largest (and most fascinating) section is the thematically assembled collection of tips&tricks on how to get by in the city wildernesses. Precious knowledge collected by Denekamp by interviewing self-sustaining homeless people in all major Dutch cities. In the context of contemporary homelessness policies where cities will take care of their own, seek to shelter all 'native' homeless every night of the week, at the cost of expelling everybody unable to prove to have lived in the city for a number of years, this is great oral history of those few (avant-garde?) homeless people who choose to remain independent of municipality welfare. Where do these folks end up? In the cryptoforest! The guide gives information about the need for dogs for protection, how to prevent the formation of a trail, the need to be settled near the cities border so the police don't know if you are part of their jurisdiction, the need to keep healthy, ways to keep warm, where to get food and the need for etiquette. Some one even says that if you hide yourself well then you know that the people who will accidentally stumble across your tent will mean you no harm because they must be accepting, tolerant people with an open mind. That would be people like me! 

Another big plus about this guide is that it's littered with quotes from Walden!

1 opmerking:

  1. Do you know about Mad Housers? They're a nonprofit group based in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) that builds small huts for homeless people who live along the railroad tracks, vacant lots, etc... cool idea:

    -Andy in California