WELCOME TO RURBURBIA
Topographical views of Pender Island, B.C., Canada, showing degraded forest and property lines of parcels of land.
SUBURBANIZATION & THE ECOCIDE
In recent decades there has been an acceleration of suburban expansion on the South West Coast of Canada, motivated by the exploitation and commodification of unceded (and ceded) Indigenous People's lands and the rampant profiteering from land as capital. In the case of Pender Island, since 1976, the expansion of governmental brokering, zoning and urbanizing the island has resulted in widespread animal extinctions and the degradation of the island's unique forest habitat. The Tree Museum therefore centres its inquiry on the locale of the Museum and the complexities that surround its (purported) 'rural' jurisdiction.
The proliferation of suburban aesthetics that prevail within colonial relations to land prompt the Museum's use of the term 'rurburbia' to describe the transformation of forested habitats into first, colonial 'rural' agrarian landholdings, and then 'suburban' settlements. The aim is to examine how attitudes to nature and habits of clear-cutting forests, grooming, sanitizing and cultivating land are not recognized as problematic in their impact on forests and animals lives. Why is it that urban 'development' and expansion is not seen as an act of destruction akin to industrial extractive practices, pollutants etc? How can suburbanization be better understood as central to wider discourses and ongoing concerns (and growing alarm) world wide about the extinction of animals and destruction of the necessary ecological systems that sustain all life? Hence, reference to the 'ecocide' is to focus attention on how the ongoing destruction of forests and "other than human" beings persists in the escalation of 'rurburban' expansion - perversely prioritized and celebrated as spaces for human well being and sanctuary.
This page is dedicated to highlighting journal articles that draw out the aesthetics and politics of 'rurburban' practices from various perspectives within academic disciplines and sources of Indigenous knowledge and philosophy. Articles will be added over time.