Should you choose the Concentration in Landscape Studies, you will be entering a field concerned with the conservation of the landscape, through the wise allocation of natural resources that anticipates and accommodates pressures arising in a changing society. This concentration focuses on environmental policy and planning as they relate to preserving, protecting, restoring and enhancing the environmental quality of habitats and landscapes in the context of built form and regional growth.
Closely aligned with landscape planning, the Landscape Studies concentration deepens students’ understanding of sustainable and ecologically-sound ways to conserve or revitalize the contextual landscapes of existing communities. Landscape planners may assist in directing expansion into appropriate areas of the countryside. Others will draw up policies to protect wilderness values in the face of commercial development and urban sprawl. Some will be concerned with the protection of agriculture in order to preserve land for food production and, at the same time, conserve farming as a way of life. Recognizing that we live in an increasingly urbanized society, some may improve recreational opportunities by planning for trails and greenway systems, links to our natural and cultural heritage. Landscape planners perform a delicate balancing act between adequately preparing for the impact of development on the environment and protecting landscape resources. They seek to act within a framework of sociological, economical, and ecological principles, at the local level to conserve community values and globally to protect earth's fragile resources.
To enter this field requires study in:
- Natural world: a broad knowledge of the working of natural systems, the science of ecological principles and the impact of human societies on plant and animal communities, an understanding of green infrastructure, storm water management, impacts of development on environmentally sensitive areas, and protection of open space.
- Cultural and political world: an understanding of the decision-making and policies governing protection of natural resources including historical and contemporary human needs and cultural attitudes that shape environments, as well as knowledge of environmental and land use policy, legal tools of local and state government, zoning regulations, and conservation.
- Economics: familiarity with resource economics, state and federal fiscal policies, and the economics of development.
- Aesthetics and design: a sense of landscape aesthetics and physical design values, and an understanding the aesthetic consequences of policy decisions.
Students must take a total of 9 classes in their area of concentration.
Available Landscape Studies concentration courses vary from semester to semester.