Russell Square, London: Green Space, Reset of Emotion (emotive geographies 9)


Russell Square in Bloomsbury/Camden evokes (for me) a sense of grounding. A feeling of being brought back to earth – in an almost literal sense, given the ‘natural’ setting – and on the level of emotion.

The surrounding city – London – is one big ‘interstitial affective zone’. It inspires as much energy as it compels complacency. It is a battlefield where blandness and grandeur constantly clash. It is my ultimate ‘in-between’ city. I love it almost as much as I hate it.

Yet, there is a space like Russell Square, during the late summer, that has the capacity to transcend the tensions that London evokes. It offers not only green space but contact with other living organisms that do not have an opinion but merely present themselves as placid, living presences in the midst of the surrounding madness and sanity of London. The silent and elegant greenery, confident trees, and birds consumed in constant conservation among themselves.

I appreciate Russell Square as a space that evokes a feeling that I find difficult to express – calm, recollection, a return to self, a feeling of ‘being’. Whatever the word, this transcendent sense, affective state is pretty important for anyone intending to navigate life and studies in London!

Russell Square and its capacity to reset my emotional state is a 241st reason to be grateful for this privilege of benefitting from London as one of my two giant classrooms!