Since the landscape is continuous in time as well as space, the history of built landscapes and the ideas embodied therein cannot be severed from new design interventions. In this area of concentration we focus upon the relationship between cultural history, social behavior, landscape aesthetics and design Our concern is both with new designs and with recent and distant historic landscapes, including those made specifically by individual landscape architects, designers and environmental artists; as well as those formed more generally by the everyday beliefs and practices of groups of people. Such critical and scholarly study of the built landscape is integral to any meaningful understanding of ecosystem, city or garden. Moreover, it is essential knowledge in the design and management of all landscapes.
The design of significant new landscapes and active participation in the management(preservation) of historic landscapes are considered co-equally important to scholarly study in this concentration since such applications both embody our thinking and serve as touchstone in an iterative process of design inquiry. Departmental faculty and students have been active leaders in all areas: as important scholars, critics and design theorists; as designers and planners of meaningful, award-winning contemporary landscapes; and as creative managers of our historic landscape resources. We have forged strong linkages to active professional firms and to cultural landscape institutions such as the James Rose Center, the Library for American Landscape History, the National Park Service’s Cultural Landscape Initiative and the Cultural Landscape Institute, to name a few. By bridging traditional scholarly research in this area with creative built work and professional outreach, we not only ground our ideas in practice, but contribute materially to the culture through innovative designs and cultural landscape management practices in the real world.