This seminar course explores a basic question – what is the idea of a park? – and how the myriad answers to this inform how we design, conserve, plan, use, and maintain parks in practice. We’ll consider social and design histories of parks, theories of urbanism, models for parks and park systems, environmental philosophies, and changing ideas of public good and infrastructure. Looking across cultures, geographies, and historical periods, we’ll work with literature, art, and design evidence from several fields: landscape architecture, urban design, social and urban history, environmental history, nature conservation and historic preservation, and creative nonfiction. And we’ll analyze parks of many kinds across place and time – national parks, urban parks, parks specialized to display art or make space for recreation or respond to ecological disturbance. Some weeks will include field visits to local parks. Working together, the seminar will build a sense of how the commonplace ideas about park have become so ubiquitous and varied in the contemporary landscape and everyday experience. Students’ work products will be individualized, and could include research papers, design analyses, speculative projects, exhibits, or other creative formats.
Also offered as LARP 7700-401
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