Spanning The Rural Urban Divide: Toward an Expanded Theory of Landscape Architecture
Branam, Easton L.
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There is currently a dominant <italic>urban narrative</italic> in contemporary landscape architectural theory that tends to situate landscape architectural theory in a metropolitan context. Although individual practitioners are working on projects in all manner of places, landscape architectural theory remains silent in challenging the urban vs. rural stereotype and continues to align professional theory and discourse with metropolitan landscapes. This thesis examines and considers the value and role of "rural" in landscape architecture's written discourse, noting its relative lack of importance in the profession's contemporary theory. I argue that the discourse on physical development in the North American landscape is limited by concurrent phenomena; a design theory that disproportionately favors "urban" topics, case studies, and innovation; and U.S. census data that ultimately delimit landscapes as either "rural" or "urban." In this thesis, I argue for an expanded landscape architecture theory that challenges the dominant urban discourse to addresses how rural communities can work with designers to set and reach mutual goals for livability and sustainability.