The French term “terrain vague” is used by architectural critics for certain conditions that, in many different forms, are present in the contemporary city. On the one hand, ”vague” means vacant, empty, free of activity, unproductive and even obsolete. On the other hand, “vague” means vague as to imprecision, uncertainty and the impossibility of identifying boundaries.
“Terrain vague” refers to places where it seems the apparently-forgotten memory of the past dominates the present. These places are external sites, strangers, falling outside the circuits of productive structures. The emptied inner islands of activity and rest are outside the urban dynamics, simply becoming depopulated areas, unsafe and unproductive.
– Gabri Solera, Madrid, Spain