Colin Burden's letter (AJ 23.1.03) states that philosophically to build at one level is to destroy at another. He goes further to speak of worthiness and of loss, none of which strikes me as being in the poetic tradition at all.
What it does point to is the need for us all to be careful of the words we choose. Take landscape, urbanscape and cityscape.
To some, landscape is Goldsworth, to others Jekll, or Capability Brown or Gibberd or Schinkel etc. When Burden speaks of the 'emotional quality of space' does he in fact mean that derived from 'the sense of place' or something entirely different? Are identity and place synonymous or do we step to gingerly into the fiery world of the subjective and the problems of shared experience? Is Potsdammer Platz a space, a place, just a memory or a process 'wo est der mauer?'
We share all our words, indeed it is the sharing of words that gives rise to the very creative process that Burden alludes to, and I object to the emotive inferences that are conjured when it is suggested that to build is to destroy - or perhaps the more subtle implication that the structures we create, the effect upon the larger environment we influence and change is any less 'natural' or is more 'artificial' than, say, the elegant and environmentally sophisticated mounds of the termite ant. To venture further into the subjective, by way of the realm of 'ugly', seems even more polemical.
What does separate us from the ant is our capacity to understand and comprehend the whole picture, including the ants, and to adjust our 'landscape' through our creativity or rather our 'wilful acts of overemphasis' (Klee). What I think Burden and Alsop are referring to are the spaces between places which can be themselves evolved into further places through the inquiry of intellect and the creative process of change.
To use any other description hints at unwritten agendas this demeans their purpose.
We live in a finite universe, nothing is ever destroyed, nothing is ever lost, there is nothing new under the sun, every thing moves, everythingchanges. That is what we do.
Simon Danischewsky, Cambridge