Landscape Theory (The Art Seminar)

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An obvious consequence of exploring more fully than in Social Formation the culture-historical and political implications of the dis- embodied eye and its subject centeredness is to highlight the almost complete absence in the text of gender and of desire as aspects of an embodied viewing subject and of landscape discourse more generally. Not only are the viewers of landscape in Social Formation, from Leon Battista Alberti, through Palladio and his patrons, the Venetian, Flemish, Dutch and English landscape artists, Thomas Jefferson and Hector St Jean de Crevecoeur, William Kent, John Ruskin and Richard Long, uniformly male, but they appear and communicate to us as eyes, largely disconnected from any other corporeal or sensual aspects of their being and existence.

The detachment from the land entailed by the landscape way of seeing is the critical focus of the work, to be sure, but detachment from their own bodies tends to be a consequence of the proffered reading here. Yet we know that sensuality and desire are powerful motivating aspects of imagination, mobilized in complex ways in relation to the vision that they often direct, and cannot be ignored in responses to landscapes. Such com- plexities of vision are often explicit in Ruskin's writing, and they are readily apparent in many of the landscape images painted by Giorgione, Titian, Claude, Nicholas Poussin or Turner.

Although it has been largely through gender theory that the importance of sub- ject embodiment for shaping human spatialities and environmental experience has been signaled, the significance of its occlusion in this book goes beyond issues of gender politics. It has the effect of at once inflating the significance of individuals' statements on landscape by rendering those who made them ciphers for a universalized experience, while silencing whole aspects of their personal, unavoid- ably embodied, experience of the material world.

By the same token, the text is silent on the gendering of the landscape itself as the object of seeing, or as some writers would have it, of "the gaze. By pursuing the meta- phorical associations of body and landscape — briefly touched upon here in my discussion of Renaissance metaphysics, but not explored in the sensuous and gendered terms that have been exposed by more recent writing 10 — not only has the history of landscape representa- tion been enriched, but critical questions about the relationships between landscape, environmental exploitation and modernity have been addressed.

A similarly significant absence in the book, connected to my emphasis on class relations and their connections to property, has been revealed through the postcolonial decentering of the European subject that has been so carefully examined in the years since Although relatively little attention is paid in my own narrative to landscapes beyond Europe, we have come increasingly to recognize that the implications of Columbian and post-Columbian contacts have shaped culture and landscape as profoundly in Europe as they have in the regions beyond it.

Seeking to apply the ideas developed in Social Formation to a monographic study of the sixteenth-century Venetian landscape in The Palladian Landscape, 11 I was unable to avoid the significance of "the New World" on the changing landscape and its representations, even in a region not directly involved in exploration or colonization: The same Venetian nobles who were designing new landscapes on their expanding terraferma estates and penning Neoplatonic celebrations of natural beauty in their villas were also collecting, classifying, cultivating, and disseminating exotic plants brought back from newly discovered, transoceanic worlds of colonial conquest.

A chapter in this book is devoted to European colonization of American land and, while it may be an exaggeration to claim, as does W. Mitchell, that landscape was "the dreamwork of imperialism," 14 my discussion of the Jeffersonian landscape would have benefited from the insights of later writers on landscape and colonialism into the colonizing aspects of the land- scape way of seeing.

This would have suggested greater emphasis on the imperial power relations implicit in the US land survey system, and on the complex and hybrid consequences of the growing global commerce in plants and species introduced for domestication in the European designed landscape from the seventeenth century. A positive, although perhaps not always intended, consequence of decentering and embodying the universal subject who, in Social Formation, produces and consumes property as landscape is to refocus attention on aesthetics. While the book betrays a proper caution when applying the class-based interpretation arising from the concept of social formation, and acknowledges the significance of individual imagination and pleasure in landscape, it never seriously grapples with the aesthetic and emotional qualities of landscapes.

Landscape's sensuous appeal, which is often much more than merely visual, dominated philosophical aesthetic debates in the English eighteenth century. It accounts for the popularity of Jay Appleton's thesis in The Experience of Landscape, also recently republished.

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The final problem worth commenting upon that arises from the 28 Landscape Theory "transition to capitalism" model of Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape is one of historical narrative. In the book I claim that, after the last flourish of romanticism, landscape as an active concern for progressive art died in the second half of the nineteenth century, and that its ideological function of harmonizing social-environmental relations through visual pleasure was appropriated by the discipline of geography Rereading these claims, it seems that they derive more from theoretical imperatives associated with the book's thesis than from historical actualities: My interpretation of the impacts of photography on landscape representation seemed, when writing the book, to offer convenient technical support for this claim.

I do not now believe that much of this stands up to either theoretical or historical scrutiny. My claim that romanticism was itself little more than an ideological expression of capitalist social relations and urban industrialism exemplifies the constraints that the book's theoretical model tends to impose on a much more richly textured feature of modernizing European societies. To interpret the intense Enlightenment debates over human nature and origins, the "rights of Man," liberty and constitutional organization, that accompanied the collapse of Europe's anciens regimes as little more than ideological legitimations designed to ease the final stages of transition to capitalist market economies is to oversimplify matters dangerously.

If nothing else, it ignores the active role played by the imaginative creation of new identities, often drawing upon landscape images such as the oak tree, in shaping the territorial and political structures such as the nation state, in which capitalist production has been obliged to operate for much of the past two centuries. Relations between landscape and romantic nationalism have a com- plex history that extends over most of that period and has been a focus of some of the most exciting work by students of landscape since , especially among cultural geographers.

I shall return below to the matter of landscape and identity. At this point I am more concerned with the historical claims made in the final pages of Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape. The book effectively closes its history of landscape precisely at the moment when "modernism" emerges as a self-conscious cultural and artistic project.

It is true that among the consistent and declared intentions of the twentieth-century avant-garde were the challenge to mimetic representation and the divorce of artwork from any dependence on literary and iconographic allusion, or figurative expression. But to claim that therefore landscape lost its ability to articulate progressive thought about social and environmental relations is to take the Modern Movement's own claims at face value.

It neglects, for example, the influence that J. Turner's artistic experiments with color and light, which grew out of an intense concern with landscape as Ruskin recognized , had upon Impressionist and post- Impressionist work in the closing years of the nineteenth century. The art of the final years of the nineteenth and the early years of the twentieth centuries includes some of the most enduring of Europe's landscape images, many of them exploring the spatialities and environmental relations of modern life. As the late Peter Fuller recognized, one aspect of postmodern culture has been a strong revival in recent years of landscape as a vital subject of artistic exploration.

It is apparent too that the Modern Movement's attitudes to landscape were themselves ambiguous rather than consistently 30 Landscape Theory hostile. Our understanding of twentieth-century modernism itself as a broad cultural movement and of the discourses of landscape within it has thus been greatly expanded since Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape was published. Alongside their well-recorded embrace of functionalism, of mechanistic metaphors and images, and of abstract form, many modernist enthusiasts also had a deep concern for the visible landscape. Geoffrey Jellicoe himself is a fine example of this, but he was by no means alone.

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To give just two examples: British debates over planning and controlling the impacts of a modern industrial state and postwar reconstruction at mid-century turned in very considerable measure on maintaining continuity in the appearance of the land, not merely for aesthetic ends but out of a sustained and widely held belief that orderly landscape was both cause and consequence of a morally ordered, civic society seeking to negotiate the changes wrought by modern living.

And Stalinist Russia, despite a triumphalist rhetoric of the onward march of modern socialism to communist victory over a subordinated nature, and the inscription of technological reason across a waywardly picturesque landscape, actively encouraged con- ventional landscape representations by Socialist Realist painters as the official image of Russian countryside.

Photography, which I deal with in these pages only in its impacts on nineteenth-century landscape, has been central to the promotion and recording of landscape during the twentieth century The appeal and aesthetics of the American West as landscape, for example, 28 owes as much to photography as to the paintings of Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and Albert Bierstadt in one of whose most sublime landscape paintings a tripod camera plays the role of the traditional eyewitness.

And this is due not merely to the work of art photo- graphers such as Ansel Adams 29 or Alex MacLean 30 but to the much more demotic medium of film. In Hollywood movies — not only Westerns — and more recently television, advertising and video, land- scapes have played a vital role, not merely as the setting for human action, but often as a main protagonist. Twentieth-century tech- nologies of vision and representation have been coupled with other technical achievements, transforming, but not extinguishing, the appeal of landscape and its power to articulate moral and social con- cerns.

Among the most obvious is the internal combustion engine, allowing high-speed movement across smooth, uninterrupted rib- bons of road and producing new ways of entering, experiencing and seeing landscape. The builders of Germany's system of Autobahnen in the s recognized this potential, planning routes and designing the curves of their roads in order to open new vistas across German landscapes and offer novel ways of experiencing them.

The dream of the bird's-eye view, pictured imaginatively in the "world landscapes" of the sixteenth century, 32 was thus realized in practice. It not only opened new relations of distanciated viewing — reaching an apogee in the photograph of the earth rising over the lunar surface in a parody of one of the picturesque landscape's most recurrent com- positions 33 — but revealed a new temporality in landscape, through the archaeological marks of past occupancy visible on its surface only from the air.

The continued relevance of terms such as the "Sublime," inherited from the landscape dis- course of earlier centuries and applied for example to the landscapes of hydroelectric power generation 34 or nuclear weapons testing, suggests that the strong claim in the book for a break in the late nineteenth century in the discourse of landscape cannot really be sustained.

Symbolic landscape A feature of this twentieth-century landscape interaction of land, technology and vision is the ever more seamless elision of experience and representation. Introducing The Iconography of Landscape, Stephen Daniels and I claimed that from today's perspective land- scape resembles "a flickering text displayed on a screen whose meaning can be created, extended, altered, elaborated and finally obliterated by the merest touch of a button.

If an entire chapter is devoted to exegesis of the phrase "social formation," "symbolic landscape" is nowhere precisely defined. I was astonished to find that it does not even appear in the index, and the theory of symbolism underlying the work is left unclear. No reference is made to semiotic or other communicative theories of symbolism, to iconographic or other methods of symbolic hermeneutics of inter- pretation, or to the relations between symbol and myth, or forms of symbolic interaction. A subordinate discourse is also evident in my brief discussion of animistic myth connected to the natural world and seasonal rhythms.

Methodologically, the symbolic here, and in my subsequent work on landscape, 37 is treated iconically, through a Warburgian approach that emphasizes the contextual interpretation of pictorial symbols. This seems particularly suitable to the idea of landscape as a way of seeing, interpreted largely through the medium of visual images, and emerging in the same Renaissance historic and cultural context as the Renaissance artistic culture that concerned those who developed this approach in art history: I found it a particularly effective approach in my detailed examination of changing material landscapes and their representation in sixteenth-century northern Italy: James and Nancy Duncan for example have revealed the theoretical resilience of "text" as a metaphor for land- scape, drawing upon the insights of literary theory and criticism.

In a historical analysis of the royal landscapes of the Kingdom of Kandy in Sri Lanka before European colonial rule, James Duncan 40 extends and applies the insight that the various tropes used in rhetoric and recognized in literary hermeneutics, such as metaphor, metonym and simile, are significant not only in understanding literary representa- tions of landscape 41 but in their material construction and their communication of social meanings. Relations between landscape and text have been fundamental to understanding the inscription of meaning on newly discovered lands during the course of European colonial expansion, in large measure itself a process of naming, as work on Australia and South Africa has revealed.

This yields the idea of treat- ing landscape as theater, 43 a connection historically warranted perhaps in the European cultural tradition by the close connection between many significant landscape artists and theater design. Canaletto, Bernini, Inigo Jones, Philippe de Loutheburg and Henri Daguerre were all engaged in designing stage sets for theatrical per- formance. Such conceptual elaborations of the relation between land- scape and symbolic discourse that have followed the publication of this book indicate the theoretical fertility, while perhaps highlighting the initial imprecision, of the idea of symbolic landscape.

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The disconnection of landscape from productive social relations with the material earth implied by treating landscape symbolically — as image, text or theater for example — and taken to its extreme in the idea of "virtual landscape" has attracted criticism from a number of writers since the publication of this book. The environmental and communitarian foundations of landscape were of course central to the geographical concepts of landscape discussed early in the text.

Recent recovery of Carl Sauer's work and thought by late-twentieth- century American environmentalists, some of whom, like Barry Lopez, 45 have written brilliantly evocative landscape interpretations, and the continued fertility of cultural geography as an environmental discourse within the American academy have led to a lively debate on landscape within cultural geography in recent years, in which the etymology and meanings of landscape have been intensely re- examined.

A more substantive under- standing of the landscape is required. Such a claim is undoubtedly a welcome caveat against the wilder excesses of a poststructuralist treatment of landscapes as little more than simulacra, disconnected from any link with the material earth and actual social practice, and it is properly urged by those concerned with the implications of current landscape study for practical environmental intervention.

But such semantic studies tend them- selves to become caught in purely linguistic circuits, and it may be that the argument for the continued social relevance of landscape as an expression of environmental relations beyond the purely visual is more effectively made by such landscape studies as Simon Schama's "excavation below our conventional sight-level to recover the veins of myth and memory that lie beneath the surface.

The intention is not to construct a uni- tary historical structure of meanings and environmental relations through landscape, but, as Schama's title implies, to reveal the power of social memory — mythic unreason — in shaping individual and social identities through its treatment of an inescapable human presence in the natural world. Structuring his approach to landscape around the elemental themes of wood, water, and rock, Schama seeks to reveal how human communities have drawn imaginatively upon dominant features of their living environment to shape distinct identities.

Recognizing the thrust of the anthropological insight that identity is constructed more through the experience of others than through autonomous self-consciousness, Schama acknowledges the exotic appeal of imaginative landscapes located beyond the known and the everyday: Thus, for example, he describes the complex evolution of Roman experiences and images of the wooded and impermanently farmed territories beyond the imperial limes defined by the Rhine and Danube, the landscape described by Cornelius 36 Landscape Theory Tacitus in his Germania.

Savage and uncouth peoples who failed to cultivate the land, the inhabitants of these forests who had conspired to defeat the might of Rome through their strategic use of the land- scape of the Teutoburger Wald, were regarded simultaneously as upholders of liberty, leading an exemplary life of egalitarian col- lectivity close to nature. Their life and landscape offered an implicit rebuke to imperial urban decadence and overexploited latifundiae of Mediterranean Italy Tacitus' text later provided an ideological justification for the significance of a landscape of Wald und Feb within German romantic nationalism.

So powerfully was the myth activated in fascist Germany that Schama relates the story of an SS detachment in the closing days of World War II devoting precious time and resources to a fruitless search for the earliest manuscript of Germania, supposedly secreted in an Italian villa near Ancona.

In Schama's account water flows in rivers of myth rather than standing deep and luminous or reflecting from the surfaces of lakes or the sea. It is a natural element, drawn upon and wonderfully elaborated historically to irrigate landscapes of social power and authority: Schama's third landscape element is rock, the most resistant to change and flow, and in this sense imaginatively the most enduring. Carving bodily form in stone is the closest we can come to giving material immortality to a human life, and Schama's account takes us from gender wars over the faces to be carved at Mount Rushmore to the conquest of the mountains as a way of gaining simultaneously the grand perspective of the "world landscape" and the contemplative depths of the world's soul.

I emphasize Schama's book because it deals so effectively with the mythic dimensions of landscape that have increasingly domin- ated my own attention since writing Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape. It does so without losing touch with either the materiality or the social and historical specificities of landscape. Jackson too wrote one of his most evocative landscape essays on the sacred power of stone.

He emphasized the significance of the long-held belief that, like other natural elements, stone is not dead and inert, but rather "a concentration of power and life. He finds therefore a power in "mythic lithology" expressed in stone's use in memorial and monumental landscapes. In their different ways Jellicoe, Jackson and Schama all acknowledge the still active power of myth as a shaping force of meaning in landscape. The social theory upon which the text draws in large measure failed to evolve a coherent theory of the natural world or of social relations with it.

Any sensitivity to the history of landscape and its representations in the Western tradition forces the recognition that human history is one of constant environmental modification, manipulation, destruction and creation, both material and imagina- tive. And guiding, if rarely driving, this process is the belief — deposited deep in myth and memory — that the good, the true and the beautiful, as well as the threatening, the awesome and the disgust- ing, are inscribed in the contours of the land. In Social Formation and Symbolic Landscape, land, especially cultivated, productive land, is the principal material foundation of the idea of landscape.

It is also the great absence in Simon Schama's treatment of landscape. The forest, water and rock that structure his 38 Landscape Theory text are of course resources for production as much as for myth, but historically in the regions both books discuss they have been, and remain, much less important in sustaining collective human existence than cultivated land. Whether as use value or as exchange value it is the cultivated earth that provides food for the overwhelming majority of individuals and communities, and it is thus in land that perhaps the most deeply rooted myths are to be discovered.

Indeed, the most powerful of them concern rootedness, ideas of home and belonging, of locality and identity, and of the social and environmental dangers of change and modernization. For this reason, and despite the many ways that I might change this account with the benefit of a decade's hindsight, I still believe that the thesis presented in this book has something to say about the relations between land and human life as they are expressed in landscape. University of Wisconsin Press, , xi-xxxv. Selections from the Writings ofJ. Jackson, edited by E.

Jellicoe, Studies in Landscape Design, vol. Oxford University Press, Turner, The Politics of Landscape: Merchant, The Death of Nature: Harper and Row, Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth-Century London: John Murray, ; W. Gibson, "Mirror of the Earth": Princeton University Press, Blackwell, , ; T. Merchant, The Death of Nature.

Rose, Feminism and Geography Cambridge: Landscape and Power, edited by W. Cosgrove, The Palladian Landscape: Pennsylvania State University Press, Schama, Landscape and Memory New York: Alfred Knopf, ; A. Watkins, "Estate and Empire: Landscape and Power, Appleton, The Experience of Landscape, second edition London: Unwin Hyman, , ; Daniels, Fields of Vision: Warnke, The Political Landscape London: Geography and National Identity, edited by D.

Green, The Spectacle of Nature: Manchester University Press, ; M. Bassin, "The Greening of Utopia: Matless, "Ordering the Land: The 'Preservation' of the English Countryside ," unpublished Ph. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Landscape and Culture in the Twentieth Century, edited by S. Museum of Modern Art, ; D. Matless, "A Modern Stream: Society and Space 10 Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity Oxford: Matless, "Moral Geography in Broadland," Ecumene 1 no.

Cosgrove, "Mapping the Modern Nation: Brace, "Finding England Everywhere: Representations of the Cotswolds ," unpublished Ph. Bassin, "The Greening of Utopia"; J. McCannon, "To Storm the Arctic: Soriani, Nature, Environment, Landscape: University di Padova, Quaderni del Dipartimento di Geografia, Bowden, Journal of Historical Geography 18 no.

University of Chicago Press, , Gibson, 'Mirror of the Earth"; D. Politics and Problems, edited by B. Berg, , Cosgrove, "Contested Global Visions: The Iconography of Landscape: Cambridge University Press, , 8. Verso, ; D. University of Minnesota Press, , ; D. Cosgrove, The Palladian Landscape.

Society and Space 6 no. Duncan, The City as Text: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, ; G.

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Lewis, "Rhetoric of the Western Interior: Carter, The Road to Botany Bay: An Enquiry into Spatial History London: Faber, ; J. Daniels, "Spectacle and Text: Routledge, , Smith, Re-reading Cultural Geography Austin: University of Texas Press, Olwig, "Recovering the Substantive Meaning of Landscape," Schama, Landscape and Memory, Jackson, "Stone and its Substitutes," Reshaping the Memory of World Wars Oxford: Oxford University Press, ; M.

Heffernan, "For Ever England: Johnson, "Sculpting Heroic Histories: Monuments, Geography and Nationalism," Society and Space 13 See also Warnke, The Political Landscape. The numbers in the text correspond to the numbers of the illustrations, as listed at the end of this essay. Human survival depends upon adapting ourselves and our land- scapes — cities, buildings, gardens, roadways, rivers, fields, forests — in new, life-sustaining ways, shaping contexts that reflect the inter- connections of air, earth, water, life, and culture, and that help us feel and understand these connections: My career as landscape architect and planner, teacher, scholar, author, and photographer has been dedicated to advancing this goal.

I once thought that the obstacle to achieving it was lack of knowledge, and I wrote my first book, The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design, to fill that void. After its publication in , 1 was surprised by how many people, including scientists and naturalists, resisted or ignored the evidence that human settlements, including cities, are part of the natural world. I have come to realize that ideas of nature and what is natural stem from strongly held feelings and 43 44 Landscape Theory beliefs. These views are highly personal and varied, and changing them is not simply a matter of marshaling compelling verbal arguments, but of reaching both mind and heart.

Photography and landscape architecture are powerful aids for helping people to feel, as well as reflect upon, the place of humans in nature. Equally important are a sense of empathy — the projection of one's own consciousness into another being, thing, or place — and the power of imagination. My book The Language of Landscape and the one I am currently working on, The Eye Is a Door, aim to help people read landscapes as products of both nature and culture and to inspire them to envision new landscapes that restore nature and honor culture.

This lesson is important not just for the artist, but for everyone, especially those who live in cities. In city, as in countryside, look east after sunset and see the twilight arch, the shadow cast by the Earth, a reminder of the eternal processes of nature, which encompass all life, and imagine the Earth as a turning sphere: Earth's shadow rising, blue into rose, tide turning — October twilight.

See cloud's path in ancient track — earth, sky, a mirrored flowing. Basho and the tradition of Japanese linked poetry, renku or haikai, offers insights for shaping human settlements in accord with natural processes. Haruo Shirane, in Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Basho, describes haikai as a chain of many short poems or haiku, usually written by two or more different poets, where "each poem takes up the suggestion of the preceding poem and yet opens up a new world of its own. All landscapes, whether gardens, farms, or towns, have co-authors, in dialogue with one another and with nature.

They embody their "One with Nature" 45 builders' responses both to the cultural traditions of a region and to its natural conditions. The high plains of the western United States, for example, are dry and open; trees are rare, a sign of water or human settlement. Trees hug a homestead, mark its place on open plains — sound of winter wind. Every act of making land- scape, like each verse in the haikai that Basho wrote with his fellow poets, should be an expression that respects and extends the dialogues and inspires the next act.

Like each short haiku in a chain of poems, it should seek to reinforce the particular of time and place and make connections among seemingly disparate things. All can learn to read landscape, to understand those readings, and to speak new wisdom into life in city, suburb, and countryside, to cultivate the power of landscape expression as if life depends upon it. Nature in cities should be cultivated, like a garden, not dismissed or subdued. The garden is a powerful, instructive metaphor for reimagining cities and metropolitan areas.

This metaphor infused my first book, The Granite Garden: In the garden, there is both an attitude of bene- ficial management and an acknowledgment of natural phenomena that are beyond human control. Gardens are never entirely predict- able; one cultivates a garden expecting that there will be unforeseen circumstances. The Granite Garden presents, synthesizes, and applies knowledge from many disciplines to show how cities are part of nature and to demonstrate how they can be planned and designed in concert with natural processes rather than in conflict.

Organized by sections on air, earth, water, life, and ecosystems, the book contains successful cases from scales of house and garden to city and region. Take the example of Denver, Colorado. Denver's urban storm drainage and flood control system, a landscape infrastructure created 46 Landscape Theory in response to a series of disastrous floods, is a model for how storm- water management could be managed in every city.

Natural systems retain stormwater in soil, plants, and streams; rivers overflow onto floodplains, which, if unbuilt, protect adjacent areas from flooding. As Denver grew, the ground became covered by more and more buildings and pavement, and it was less able to soak up rainfall, so stormwater flowed more and more rapidly through the watershed into the South Platte River.

In June, when snow is melting in the Rocky Mountains and stream flow is already high, rains can produce devastating floods. In the s, a flood destroyed all the city's bridges and convinced everyone it was time to do something. Denver responded by building a network of greenways along the South Platte River and its many tributaries and drainage channels. The stormwater channels look like little streams with berms on either side to keep the water from flooding adjoining streets and houses.

Plazas, like Skyline Plaza in downtown Denver, are also stormwater detention basins that collect rainfall from surrounding roofs and pavement.

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By then, floodwaters have receded. The stormwater system is a series of parks and plazas that are assets to the city around them. Attending to natural processes in urban planning and design is not just a matter of avoiding hazards or problems; it creates opportunities for community development, urban restoration, and art. I have organized my research and teaching around experimental, demonstration projects in inner-city neigh- borhoods to address issues of environmental quality, poverty, and race.

For twenty years, West Philadelphia has been my laboratory for testing ideas about transforming the urban landscape in life- sustaining ways. Although my work draws from diverse fields, it is rooted in the "One with Nature" 47 knowledge and methods of landscape architecture and the insights they provide. Landscape architects design and plan landscapes to serve human purposes at scales from garden to region. This range in scope is fundamental to the discipline, and my proposals include designs for small urban parks and plans for vast urban watersheds.

My work aims to understand how natural and cultural processes, interacting, shape landscapes and how to intervene in and shape those processes to achieve desired goals. While the methods and means of designing and planning landscapes at the scales of garden, neighborhood, city, and region may differ, the processes that shape those landscapes — natural, social, economic, and political — are the same.

Understanding landscape as the product of interacting pro- cesses provides a way of seeing relationships among actions and phenomena that may appear unconnected, but are, in fact, closely related. Consider the example of several serious issues that are usually addressed individually with narrowly defined, single-purpose solu- tions that compete for limited resources: Large portions of many American cities contain extensive tracts of vacant land, once covered by buildings.

These are commonly regarded as problems, but they also afford opportunities to restore the city's natural environment while rebuilding inner-city neigh- borhoods. What is rarely recognized is that much of this vacant land is concentrated in valley bottoms on buried floodplains. Old maps showed that streams had once flowed through the valleys.

I traced the successive settlement and abandonment of these neighborhoods by comparing maps from to and found that homes were built first on hill tops and upper slopes, while floodplains and streams were filled in and developed last with cheaper housing. Some of these buildings were abandoned as early as ; by large areas in the bottomlands were vacant.

It was also fueled by political processes and social discrimination that dis- couraged investment in old urban neighborhoods while encouraging the development of new suburban communities, and by socio- economic phenomena like population migration and arson. In the s many landlords burned down their decaying buildings to collect fire insurance, and by even more land was vacant. The State of Art Criticism presents an international conversation among art historians and critics that considers the relation between criticism and art Artistic representations of landscape are studied widely in areas ranging from art history to geography to sociology, yet there has been little consensus about how to understand the relationship between landscape and art.

This is the third volume in The Art Seminar, James Elkin's series of conversations on art and visual studies. Is Art History Global? In this unprecedented collection, over twenty of the world's most prominent thinkers on the subject including Arthur Danto, Stephen Melville, Wendy Steiner, Alexander Nehamas, and Jay Bernstein ponder the disconnect between these two disciplines.

The volume has a radically innovative structure: Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. The Spirit of Oriental Poetry 1st Edition. Renaissance Theory 1st Edition. The State of Art Criticism 1st Edition. Landscape Theory 1st Edition. To learn more about Amazon Sponsored Products, click here. James Elkins is E. He is general series editor of "The Art Seminar. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime.

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