The Place of Landscape: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting an American Scene

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This paper presents a conceptual framework for interpreting cultural landscapes in the U.S. through the example of a residential suburb. The particular landscape is presented as the tangible, visible articulation of numerous discourses. Several examples of a “discourse materialized” in the landscape—landscape architecture, historic preservation, neighborhood associations, insurance mapping, zoning, consumption—are employed to demonstrate how the landscape at once constricts and is constructed by individuals who live in a particular place. U.S. cultural landscapes ultimately are viewed as material phenomena, reflective and symbolic of individual activity and cultural ideals, as they simultaneously are central to the constitution and reinforcement of those activities and ideals.

Keywords: American cultural landscape; interpretation; social life

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Kentucky

Publication date: December 1, 1997

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