The term ‘Metro-land’ was devised as a catchy marketing brand name by the Metropolitan Railway’s Publicity Department for the suburban areas north-west of London in Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The promotion launched for ‘Metro-land’ helped blossom a huge success in the post-war 1920s when new suburban house sales around London took off as never before. ‘Metro-land’ was intended to stimulate new residential development, populating these districts with middle-class commuters who would travel to and from London daily on the Metropolitan’s services. Growing from being ‘an ad man’s creative invention into a more prosaic reality in the 1920s and 1930s’, ‘Metro-land’ became ‘a wistful post-war recollection from the 1950s onwards and finally a new land of personal imagination by 1980’*.
It is beyond the 1980s and into the post-millennium where I take the new dawn of ‘Metro-land’ and concentrate on the construction of the new built suburbia, questioning how the land is being used to build fresh communities for the new generation of ‘Metro-land’ suburban housing. The project ‘Metro-land’ considers the alteration of the landscape and emerging environments that have now arisen from the same locations made up of the original ‘Metro-land’ areas. Relating to the significant interchange between suburbia and open-spaces Metro-land concentrates on the newly built pseudo-modernist housing and how the transformation of land has immense importance to the development of this historical commuter area. As stated by Robert Adams; ‘all land, no matter what has happened to it, has a grace, an absolutely persistent beauty’. Taking influence from the New Topographics: Man Altered Landscapes exhibition in 1975 and shooting objectivity the Metro-land project encompasses the same ideologies of the New Topographics who did not ‘admire nor condemn’ the landscapes they created but instead make ‘quiet comments on the imperfections they observed’.
*Quotations have been used from Oliver Green’s publication, ‘Metro-land’ published in 2004.