When in doubt, I reach for the work of walker, watcher, landscape writer, polymath and maverick intellectual Rebecca Solnit.
Quoted from 'The Ruins of Memory' in Mark Klett's After the Ruins, newly arrived in the Gallery library.
Here are some words of hers – the italicised ones especially – that I'd like to see transmitted straight to the frontal lobe of anyone contemplating demolition and development in this city of ever-multiplying gaps.
'Ruins stand as reminders. Memory is always incomplete, always imperfect, always falling into ruin; but material ruins themselves, like other traces, are treasures: our links to what came before, our guide to situating ourselves in a landscape of time. To erase the ruins is to erase the visible public triggers of memory; a city without ruins and traces of age is like a mind without memories.'