This Atlas is a project that is meant to serve as a resource to students and researchers trying to do historical and contemporary design research on Latin American landscapes. It consists of a Timeline of American Landscape, and a series of historical, geographical case studies of specific landscapes. It is one of the products of my America 30:60 research project, and is being produced in conjunction with students in my Latin America: Landscapes and Urbanisms class. I am making the products available here in the hopes that students and scholars might take the discoveries made and questions raised and test, disprove or prove, and generally further develop them through historical research, design speculations, critiques, and theoretical projects. The aim is to support rigorous scholarship that is not so much reproducible (though that has a certain value), but transferrable and original.
Despite the cultural, historical, economic and geographic affinities and ties between the nations of the Western Hemisphere (the Americas), there are presently several difficulties in sustaining a historical and theoretical project of American landscape that includes the histories and geographies of Latin America. Our pervasive Eurocentrism is the primary culprit- in addition to the dominance of the Eurocentric art-historical approach of most of the history and theory work done in the field, the majority of the grants, fellowships, and traveling studios are oriented toward European histories, theories, technologies, and geographies. Another barrier is the paucity of historical and geo-spatial information in the English language, combined with the relative inability of North American scholars in landscape architecture to read Spanish or Portuguese (not to mention the myriad indigenous languages of the Americas).
This problem, and this project, can be thought of using a spatial metaphor: if the history and theory of North American landscape architecture has traditionally been conceived of and pursued along an east-west axis (from Europe to North America and now to Asia) then this project aims to rediscover and further reinforce a north-south axis.
To use this Atlas, just click on the name of a landscape or project in the sidebar. For each project, in addition to the researcher's name, the date of the research project, and the year in which it was done, you will find a descriptive narrative, a mapping project and timeline, historical and contemporary photos, a data evaluation and links, as well as a downloadable file package with original .shp files.