Discovering Weedy Landscapes as Sensory Commons
Environmental relationships need to be understood as crucial in contemporary social research. This article explores relating with nature in urban contexts and its diverse temporalities. How do people relate to the more-than-human natural environments in the city? How does urban nature appear through sensory memories and perceptions? To answer these questions, this research analyzes sensobiographic walks conducted with young (15-30 years of age) and old (70+ years of age) city dwellers in Turku, southwest Finland. Via transgenerational sensobiographic walks (Järviluoma 2021), less controlled urban green spaces such as parks, riversides, margins, and pathways are discovered as weedy landscapes, where encounters between the human and the non-human take place. These weedy landscapes allow the sharing of sensory experiences and memories of transformation, following that sensing itself can be grasped as a collective endeavor. This article asserts that urban biodiverse sites maintain their interrelations with other forms of life. The multi-sensorial atmospheres they provide - smells, sounds, silences, views, moisture, shadow, feeling - could be cherished as sensory commons. The findings presented in this article contribute to current discussions in several research fields from urban planning to mobile ethnography, landscape architecture, spatial design, and the anthropology of the senses.