Landscape as a historic document

The things that struck me most about the readings for this week was the idea of landscape as a historic document. As I went through the other chapters, I found myself going back to this idea and wondering how “our” landscape would be read a few decades from now. Would graduate students from a “Intro to Thirdspace Studies” be wandering around, looking at what was left, constructed and preserved from the 20-teens? The Boise metro area, as it is now, has such as strange variety of landscapes/thirdscapes. Parts of the city strive to stay sheltered in their track-home, built-to-suit suburbia. Ranches, pastures, farms and fields seem to be in the most random places- acting as a reminder that Boise wasn’t built on microchips and french-fry empires. I hope that those places, from farms to mansions, will remain in place, giving something for students of landscape history something interesting to study. Maybe it would be just as revealing, though, if these spaces were gone in 60 years. Richard Schein discusses racialized landscapes, and says they “can be seen here as a kind of autobiography, in that each captures social or cultural norms, values, and fears.” (p.217) I don’t think this only applies to the racial boundaries within a city. Things that we find important enough to keep, or suitable to go away, says just as much about who we are.

If there are students looking at Boise a generation or three down the road, I think they will have their work cut out for them. Our landscape is a confusing, but telling document about who we once were and what we hope to be.

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