Monday, March 7, 2011

cultural landschaft pt.two

A limestone capital and columns gifted
from Amman, Jordan to the city of Philadelphia
Found in a courtyard on the Penn State campus.
A class that I am taking this semester is Cultural Landscape Preservation. One week ago we had a guest lecturer join us for a discussion about what a landscape is. We began by defining what culture and nature are. Culture is born out of the word cultivating, while nature are the forces that shape the world. In a more modern mindset culture is a highly engineered landscape while nature is the country side.
To bring this into landscape terms the landscape can be read because we have cultivated the world around us. Three examples I want to use to help you understand this concept is the Romantic period where the rich had lavish back yards, the National Parks Service freezing time by preserving "natural" views, and the current trend being suburbanization by making the landscape more suitable for automotive transportation.
Each of these time periods' landscapes can be read because of the cultural significance of that time.
Romantic periods are identified because people that had money wanted certain views to bring them back to a nostalgic time period they were never a part of, basically another time periods culture. These landscapes are notorious for moving the earth to introduce ponds, farm animals, boulders, and hills into landscape where these features may not have been natural. Another idea introduced to the romantic landscapes were Greek or "ancient" architectural ruins- the idea for this is that it was once born out of the earth and through erosion it will be brought back into the earth.
Moss island in Little Falls New York is looking
 to be certified as a NP. One feature of this place
 is the stone face reminiscent of New Hampshires
The NPS views the landscape as an area to be preserved because of natural beauty though originally because of resource management. Another way you can view this type of landscape, a park, is that it can be studied and mastered. Freezing these moments in time can lead to tricky ethical predicaments though. The first is balancing succession and management practices so the original landscape views can be preserved. Do you let nature run its course as it had up until, culturally, we decided that the land was important enough to be deemed important? Some see the NPS as a celebrated asset while other believe they have lost sight of what the word landscape means.
The final landscape type I want to discuss is our current cultures. The mid 20th century brought on a whole new meaning for the landscape. We moved away from real earthwork projects of the Romantics by developing the landscape to fit our current civilizations needs. The first way we did this was losing sight of the city and developing on the areas between urban and wilderness. Humans first had to build structures to defend against the landscapes processes and it has evolved into being so spread out that our design for the landscape imposes necessary egress routes to get us from point "a" to point "b".
To bring this article to a final summation it is important to know that all landscapes having meaning and this is because landscapes can be read. Past generations have interacted with landscapes and by doing so have made them significant.

No comments:

Post a Comment