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But he "''35 really inco It. He was in this whole tunas}' ",-odd.

And no one was Iookins at tum like he "'"as To me that


was strange, but nobody else seemed or att.
the in a place- md
a story come (0 fiuniliar phrases, used as ohm by land-
scape architectS articulating a design process as by the general
public (0 the meaning or vatU(' of a landscape. These
phrases, and their corollaries, belie a distioction berv.'een
and (0 borrow the words ofgeographer Vi Fu Tuan. One
is purely physical, while the other has and connection
co someone. It is this distinction that Cooperman (0 situ-
ate film in Bryant Park wben she could have JUSt as easily
woric:ed in East RiVet Park or Morningside Park. Brrant Park is
mtegraJ to the scoC')'. Or, foraccuracy, perhaps it is bet-
ter to say that her StOry is integraJ (0 Bryant Park.
is a loo5dydefinedgroupcidw:orist:sand prac-
mionets woo lookil18 at this ci meaning in
bn<h<>p< '""'-'gh dr ""', """""y _gh, .. Ian
guagt'. They fed---eJrhough there is difkrern in the
details.----that landscapes are composed of signs thu,
be One only has (0
scud)' itS S}'Tuax, itS vocabulary, and pracrice
itS diction (0 learn the language oflandscape. Beyond
itS a1literati\'e allure, "the language of landscape" has
appeal in that it combines into a single, contained
idea--01.'O very slippery and complex ones. Lmguage
has baffied civilizarion ..et since the first literate ex-
pressIOn (c. 15,000 B.C., the date ci the paintings
at A1wnira and Lasa.ux, seems as good a as
any). AIguably.landsape has lUrrov.-m brows
longer. (Can we affix the due wtx-n H_1a(JtmI fust
cupped eyes and kloked OUt O\'er the savannah?)
Ifthe languageoflandscapevi'ere a lIlO\'UTlmt, Annr
Whisron Spim, ASIA, v.'OlI.Id be itS leader. A. professor
cilandsa.pearchit(CtUte at the Uni\-m.ityofPennsyl-
\-ania, Spim has recently published a book on the sub-
ject tided, appropriately, TM Langllogt of
(Yale University Press, 19(8). In it she codifies this
language on twO First there is the syncaaical
in ",'hich she compares the Strucrurt oflandscape
t 82 I
and the Stf\lC'tUfe of Ianguaae: features are like nouns.
like \-rms. their intctaecions like- subJ(S and predi-
a.tes inttrrWining. &neath the syntaCttallS the metaph;>rical
where,like acolYrent structUtt can b<'gin
to take on meaning. Here Spiro's examples abundant. She
looks at the politically comentious landscape of Skamling Hill
oonh of the Slesvig-Holstein region of Denmark. For dose to a
LITERAL SIC:-:S m tIN landscape provide mark('rl anddues
about a culture, such as Trenton, NewJerrey's prouddietumo/
mdustry': TRE.''TOl\' MAKES, TIiE WORLD TAKES, above. In a
dfflgn for an 10W0I mt stop, fuR Conu.'O)' I'ndMart)' Schulte-are
urmg tMword "pwnrr" to Ilruaurr tMrpaa, bdcN..
A.'>r.\'E SPIR:', mils flS thIS
tkbigb ordp(1)ntt'%J,
tk bIJS shmng. panicqw/.tl)' In tINVIIlt
thu IhOng p/mttmg p,fJf:idn ". tktml am !IlJdJ onto,
the purpose c:Jeducating peopleabout their
I'1aw it is shaped. by and,
imporouuly, how residentS can use
those forces to It. 1be idea. has Its
roots in the phil050phy c:J the Gvil RightS
MO\"m'leflt, mat lireracy equals empovov-
metlL In this contlCXl:, the Ianguag.e is nor: dr
lingual pov.'tt strueture c:J laws and rights.
bur the spatial povo"t'f stnJCW'e c:J the built
environment; and the illiteracy Spim has
fOund is as much an ignorance of how land
scape is shaped as it is the misapprehension
that it cannot be refonned in other ways,
West Philadelphia, like a lot of poor
urban areas, ....-as built in the floodplain. or
bottomS, ofa Although today
Mill Creek is piped underground, during
hard rains it makts appearances, &oding
Streets, and lots, as it
In this context,
the language
is not the
lingual power
structure of laws
but the spatial
power structure
of the built
envirornnent.
Each !a,..h(JlIJt 'J pla.ltd
rwmduuh IrfCJ. tlxIRIgt oId6
tlWl di.""Jh'ng tIN b6MJtJ.
oft"' hlilfgalou1 no .,,-r tho"
-floor bigh: IrtItS arr planted
OJ dlMtlS 1mf-t from
Jlraight t'tTtifal tnm/u'. Jharp
lJmtrOJt 10 the broadbortZ/mtai
JUffp. markillg tnrh a JjJiai
piau. The farmhotlJtJ Jta11d
agaimt tht skJ, ao/ated, txl."t/Jt
ff)f'thtHtms. I tltufmklnduly)' thtwtlmplamedtrfCJsodlJYtf>-
gtJhtr andnearlhe hNdt. a dttail f1IIt rolf IalCb (I1Ito. I dril't lJafi
tou'af"li thtal)' andS trmagai.: tht) ta1IWJht IattdJcape. gn't 10
the tl/JDt1ltSl a 1fnJ.
Ct'flfW}' mearo was under Getman and
the Danish-speaking populat:ion forbiddm
to speak their when finally Iiber-
in 1945. tbto landscape became ifl'UTle-
diatdy rrinscrilxd \l..ith culrural
by members c:Jthe Danish Today
dr is rnaJ'ki by a memorial, a Single
to\\'ttc:Jsrones. the entire region.
allandsc:ape c:JSbmlingsb:mke has lxmin-
vested with narionalistic symbolism-the
landscape is no less than a rnt'Clphor for Dan
ish pride.
Spirn comests [hat, like poetry, [he
meeaphorica.l meamng of landscapes varies
in amplitude. Some, Skamling ate OVert
or Others are sulxIer, or what
she ca.IJs Mdeeper,M such as me Great Plains c:J
America, wIleR the metaphors c:J the land-
scapeate less rberorica.l. Spim teUs tbto stOty
of coming upon a house in a
great expanse c:J plains
somewhere of llin\'er.
Around the ...."ere .e'\m
very large rrees planted dose to
the structure to ptO\'lde shelter
againsr rhe unrelenting sun and
wind. Bur Spirn also under-
stands this as a structured re-
sponse, a dialogue, wirh the
Menduring context of
place. She wmcs;
In thU Spim's ability to discm1 the syntax rLland-
scape--ttS fearures (nouns), procr:sses (\"t'tbs), and the principles
goo.-em.ing their mteraction--ll.JJov.'S her to pettti""e how land-
sa.pecan ha\"e metaphorica.l or S)'mbolic sIgnificance, how it an
stand for the mlaCity on the Plains.
Alrhough these musings have a lofty and t'SOtehc X'Ie cothern.
one c:JSpim's pnmary interestS is sociological: Iflandscape is lan-
what is the stateofliteracy? For the last twelve years Spim
has worked wirh residents and studems in [he grirty western
neighl::orOOods c:JPhiladdphia on landscape literacy proiern with
rreates itS natunl 60w, o..v rhe last ).ea.tS, a. group c:J
sinh, SC'''mth, aJXl. oghth graders at Su1zberger Middle School
hav(' '\lo'llrled with Spimand herstudents in a Universityc:JPmn-
Syl\1U1ia design studio to study and map Mill Creek. They fol-
lowed its perambulations from where it runs abo\"e ground, to
where it descends, where it fioods sewffS, where it serdes in \'a.
cant lotS, and where it connectS with and defines the neighbor-
hood. uWle teach how to read landscape of the
neighborhood, Msays Spiro. She also reaches them how to be fiu
em in 1andscape, how to landscape; and as pan of their
In this context,
the language
is not the
lingual power
structure of laws
but the spatial
power structure
of the built
environment.
,

!
I
!
i
i
i
i
centur}' the area "'as under German and
the D.utish-sptaking populacion forbidden
ro sprak chei.r whm finally lib-
attd in 1945. the 1andscape bame
diacdy mnscribed with cultural meaning
b)' mmlbersofthe Danish Toda)'
the place is marktd b). a memorial, a
rower ofscones. HO..... the entire' lC'gion.
a.J landscape ofSkamlingsbankt has bn in-
\"fSted with nationalistic symbolism--(he
is no less than a metaphor for Dan
ish pride.
Spirn comens that, like poetry, the
lTlffilphorical meaning of landscapes varies
in amplitude. Some,likt Skamling ",'en
or polemical.- Othets subtler. or what
she caI1s -deqler.- suchas dleGmu PJainsof
Ammca, whett the mecapbor.s of the land-
scape are less rhetorical. Spim tells the stOI1'
of coming upon a in a
grett expaIR of plains
somewhere east of Denver.
Around the \\'n'C' 5e'\"t't'a.I
\"el')' large tnoes plamtd close ro
the Structure ro prCl\'ide shelter
against the unrelenting sun and
wind. But Spirn also under-
stands this as a Structured reo
a with the
-enduring deep context of
place. - She writes:
Each lannhtulJt ,s pla.ltd
,."Jurrhlrrttl, rhtlutgtWkr
tnllS ditRlnishing tM hoI/HI.
o/fttl Imtlgalou'S .., RttJn lhan
Ottt floor high: lrtJlJ mr planlttl
as dtMas 1mfr
Jlraight ,rrtical tnmks tlf sharp
roRrraSllfJ the broadhor,zontal
IUn:P. markitlg tach a spial
piau. The !armhfJlIltS sta1ld
agaiwt tINskj. isdattd. txapt
fiw lrtJlJ. luttdmrandubJ lINMulmplaRrttl trmJ(} dON tt;-
gtthtr ami nwr tIN!xJJm. a ddail (}nt COli larch (jIlr().. I drit"t ha<k
tDuard tlNcil) a"J_1rrttI again: rlx) ranw tht latrdscapt. glt"t to
tINtifJmMU a /oaa.
In this aampk. Splm's abilit}' to disam the S}Tltax cIland
sape--irs feacures (nouns), processts (\'nbs), and the principles
p-eming chei.r imeraction---Wlo....'s her to how Iand-
scapeCUl metaphocical orsymbollcsignificance, how it CUl
stand fOr the tenacity cIlife on the Plains.
Although these musings ha\'t'a loftyand esoreric ronetorhem,
one ofSpim's primary interestS is sociological: Iflandscape is lan
guage, what is the stateofliteracy? For the last twehe rears Spim
has worktd with residentS and students in the gritty western
neighlxxhoodsofPhiladelphia on landscape lireracy projects with
"
the pwpasc oftducating people about their
environment, how it is sbaptd by fom:s. and,
more imponandy, how residents can
d105e forces w change it. 1be idea has its
I'OlXS in the of the cn'il Rights
l\{O\'mlent, that litetaey equals etnp<)\\"ef'
ment.ln thiscoocext, the language is flO( the
lingual fJO\\"ef StnICf\1lC' of laws and righrs,
but the $pltia! PO\'o'er of the built
and the illiteracy Spim has
found is as much an ignorance of how land
is shaped as it is the misapprehension
that it caruxJ( be reformed in ocher ways.
West Philadelphia, like a lot of poor
urban areas, was built m the floodplain. or
bottoms. of a watercourse. A1mough weby
Mill ermc is piped underground, during
hard rains it makes appearances, Rooding
basements, and vacant lon, as it
A.'':\'E \\"HISTON SPIR.'l aJJs as this
gtOl.. lkh,gh plamsofColorado--pl.amo/tkrpQ)ntm,"uYxre
tIN mrnng, fXN11qua/iJy. In 1MuuJ
Ibtl S170IJg p/Ilnlmg PlY)(-"dn tkwiJ OI1IltJsth onto.
its natur.l.I Sow. (),."ef the last )-eaIS, a group of
sixth, 5e'\'mth, and cighth graders at Sulxberger Middle School
worled with Splmand herstudenrs in a Univm.it}'ofPenn-
Srh'aflia design studio to study and map Mill Crtd.:. They foI
lowed its perambulations from whett it NOS aJ:.oo,-e ground, to
whett it descends, whett it floods sewers, whett it settles in va
cant 10000, and where it connecrs with and defines the neighbor.
hood. "We teach them how to lead the landscape of the
neighborhood,- says Spim. She also teaches them how to be flu
ent in how to "write" landscape; and as part of their
The postmodem debunking of the validity of texts needs to be
work he srudefUS have' also generartd. ideas for new landscapes,
including a design for a minigolf puk that karum the creek as
part airs program. According toSpim, gro-...jng support
for the idra, arxl it looksas dIough Mill Cr:k Mini-Golfmight
actually be built. te.aching the kids to OQ( only know the
place they in, but kam how roidfcet
... how ro be dftivecirizms.
M
Spim says that \\-uKing on landscape literacy is important in
places like West Philadelphia, where pcwt'rty and abandonmem
have broken down the community in ways d1at laws and rights
"
alone are simply pov.mess to deal with. Landscape
she says, is opportundy positioned to mah piaces that can -cre-
ate' kJo,'!' and COlllleCtKJnM within a rommuniry h is ex-
citing [0 think about the that R:Sidenu ofWcst
Ptubddphia might create "'-ere thqempov."t'rM mOOso. What
vocabulary ",-ou..Id dle}' How would they StructUre their
Iandsc:ape phrases? What stories v,.'ould they tdP
As much as West Philadelphia begs ans..... to these ques-
tions. rne Lttino rlC'ighborhoods of Los Angeles literally bubble
forth with them. In a current exhibition of photographs tided
El Nuevo Mundo, the sociologist and photographer
Camillo Jose Vergara explores the rapidly changing
neighborhoods ofeast and south Los Angeles. What Ver-
gara found in Los Angeles was nol the palm-lined boule-
vards of film and telt"'ision but rh(- duSty front yards,
murals, and urban gardens ofa Tijuana or a Mexico City.
Rather than living within the imitation McditenaneaJl
a&heric olaIlBlo Los Angdes, Winos, from Mex-
ico, have the I.andscape with a vocabulary and
.\1\' STREET isJ1"tty MIlCh m Jy.'s
businm, UJs F.IItn4 WllWms, studmt Ilt
Muidk SdJooi In W<!'ft PhtLuk/ph1tl For W,J1U1ms, h"
block o/Union Strt, leEr:, is Il 0/douhk Dutch
andOlb" gfJmn, noS] neigbbors, and ronllfJnl struggk
wltb speeding cars. Anotlxr home L:mdsmpe, Stonington
Harbor, ConnllCUt, above, fJ ronnectlon with the
pilst andIl bulu.vJr!e against nrCTOtJdJlng
-I -'
carefully weighed against two millennia of moral philosophy.
palette that is rJl()le familiar fO them. Murals of die Virgin of
Guadelupe prtdorninat(' Vergara's images, ohmrombinrd with
mutal-likt: lOr 10cal bosinesse5---Qmnmon prac-
tice in Mairo--writtmcompletdy in Spanish. ResKJential gar4
dens also rdlect aconscious desire ro recreatC'a homesoumofchr
botdn within the Los Angdes comot. Take. fOr instanCe, a man
known simply as Vincente who Vergaro. encountered in his froot
yard where he had covered the din wirh a neat matrix of con-
crete. When presSl, Vincente explains that he has several
grmdchildren and a dog, and that rather than have rodeal wjth
a muddy yard after rain he's converted
to hardscape. Agarden ofseveral dozen
hanging potS surrounds his porch,
adding color to {he lively and warm
landscape. are used (0 seeing
California in a urtain way, says Vet-
FOR SPlRN, 1M 0/ iJ
most n:iJe"J in dmgnd uorks, tIS
wtJh tJ/ina, u,'1OUght 1MIaym0{
17fN/fing Juai1raandtkvdcptJ.
Skpotnls to RichtzrdHaag's BIoftki
IlfUi FotnI Cmtn"y mSrockhoIm,
below. 4I t'XJlmpln0/tinlflls thtu/rom
wm'tonaivtJtl1produasO/
A/t6mJdmg tiN{.a0/Goat
RsxJe, mowtlllmdmtbmtmtmlJN10
......
gam. -(BUt winos in Los Angeles] sum'ming lhis Wasp
ofgtem grass and lemon treeS.
During his work on EI NtJeYO Mundo, Vergara cravded roMex
teo and brought along some of his phocographs to show poopk.
When he pasemod a phorograt:h ofa home that- had been adorned
with murals and larm ofcoI01fu1, plXtod plana to a restaurant
owner in Tijuana, the restaurateur rmurked, 01bey do this 50 as
rxx ro feel nosr:algia for their counuy, their rowns, their friends. 0' In
anothercase, Vergara showed a picture he'd taken ofa tire shop in
South Unual Los Angeles toa Mexican. (ComimmJon Pagt 90)
1851
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Language of Landscape
(Cmlimm/rwt Page 65) The exterior of me
building was covered in muralsadvenising
the shop's services. '"This is a hardworking
person, someone with imagi- he re-
sponded, easily reading the Mexicanized
landscape ofLos Angeles. In Spim's words,
Vergara's photographs show how the im-
migrants of"lDi Angeles are using thegram-
mar and synrax of their native land [0
remake the Iandscl.pe.
Manhew Poneiger wishes we would
talk about stOries ramer than language per
se. In their book, Landscape
(john & Sons, 1998) Poneiger, a
professor of landscape architecture at the
Snue University of New York-Syracuse,
and his coauthor, Jamie Purinton, write
about the variety of stories that are com-
municated by the landscape. Like Spim,
Poneiger and Purinton write about both
the structure of landscape and the human
meaning ascribed to it as literate Struc-
tures, or Stories. P(){teiger says that in re-
searching the book he interviewed dozens
of people and posed the simple request:
me the Story of this place." The con-
versation that ensued might cover history,
a story about something that happened
here; or maybe the person would talk
abom how the landscape changes over the
season, what she notices about thedimate
and the wildlife, or even something as
nebulous as the shifting panems of light;
or maybe the conversation would veer in-
to myth or spirituality, a belief that the
landscape is dear to one's hean or that it
possesses a soul.
Potteiger's methodology of soliciting
abom landscape should be fa-
miliar to any landscape architect who has
been involved in a public charrene
process, ror what inevitablycomes to light
in these processes are the stories that the
residents of a panicular place tell abom
that place. A haJlmark of the profession's
enlightenment has been the emphasis on
nO{ only gathering these stories but de-
signing with them. Potteiger applauds
this development, which he says helps to
create better designs, ones that provide a
strong and valid "relationship between
users and a You hear designers com-
plain people get it? ... 1 think the
real question is 'Can we get it?'"
A popuJar trend nowadays is to attempt
to tell these stories ofa community liter-
ally, by using acruaJ text in landscapes. A
short !ist ofprojens that have appeared in
Lands<npt Arrhiunurt over the last several
years ,,"'OUld include the Walker and Ma
cy S[Ory Garden in Portland (which graces
the cover of Landscnpt NnrTalitltS): George
Hargreaves's design for Lbrary SqI.laTe at
the University ofCincinnari, which cul-
minates in a phrase from Oliver Wendell
Holmes; Halprin's FOR /lltml.Jria/: and the
corporate landscape of rhe Fannie Mae
Corporation. This list should also indude
a new rest area along Interstate 80 in Iowa,
which has been designed by the Iowa firm
Conway+Shulte. In their work, Con-
way+Shulte uses text both as a strucruring
device and as an element in the landscape.
The Iowa rest area (which will be con-
suucroo this summer) contains playful
phrases etched into the hardscape that tel1
A popular trendnowaclays
is to attempt to tell these
stones ofacommunity
literally, by using actual
text In landscapes.
the Story of the state for passersby (See
Riprap, February 1998). Each ofthe textS
describe some famous pioneers from Iowa
history; however, the word "pioneer" writ
large also forms the underlying structure
ofthe sight. Ifone were [0 Ay over the rest
area, he would be able [0 literally read the
word as a series of plantings, landfurms.
and architecture. On the ground, this leg-
ibility is lost; yet Bill Conway, one of the
designers, says there's "not a danger in
this, but a welcoming. \V/e're not looking
for a kind ofalways-evident designer's im-
print. You go [0 Englishgardens or other
designed landscapes, and over time you
don't say, 'Oh, I can see the first move; or
you don't ask for that kind of legibility
from the first instance of the designer's
thought to the last instance ofexperience.
\Y/e always expected our structuring de-
vice of the word "pioneers" to gently give
over to becoming a landscape. The Struc-
rure meltS away. In ran there is no place at
rhe rest Stop where you can read the word
'pioneer,' because you're in it."
Both Potteiger and Spiro lament the
proliferation ofverba1language in current
landscape architecrure--it "has become a
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Language of Landscape
cliche," says Spiro. But Conway believes
verbal language, if used rightly, can be a
useful device in design because rather than
explaining, language creates ambiguity,
complexity, and hence wonder. "If we re-
cite a poem twice we get a different mean-
ing," says Conway... tr has to do with
wonder. We're looking for the possibili-
ties in language, and in that sense we're
looking for the possibilities in landscape."
Conway's view of language reAects a
postmodemist interest in subjectivity and
the relativity of meaning, qualities that
are embodied in the theory of poststruc-
turalism. A literary theory birthed in
French linguistics, poscstrucruralism
holds that language is an artificial Struc-
ture applied [0 the world tather than de-
rived from it, that words and the things
they signifYare not "narutally" connected,
In a n d c a ~ Narratlt'tS, Potreiget and
Purineon refer (0 an example from Ferdi-
nand de Saussure, in which he demon-
Strated how there is nothing inherently
"tree-like" in the word ttee. This simple
idea has grown and expanded over the
ninety years from when it was first ut-
tered, and in its wake it has spawned
countless "deconstruCtionist" works,
mosdy (0 the effect of making us uncer-
tain ofwhat we're reading. As interpreted
and transmuted by Roland Banhes,
Jacques Derrida, Julia Krisceva, and
countless other academicians, poststruc
tutalism has pervaded almost every disci-
pline, going beyond the boundaries of
literary theory to ha\'e a profound effect
on the social sciences. The connections
with the language of landscape are obvi-
ous, for there may be no more subjective
experience than that of landscape. Like
language, each person may read different
types and levels ofmeaning intodifferem
land="".
The question that has plagued post-
structuralism is the question of universal-
ism: Is the text that I read the same as the
text you read? \'Qimout universalism, who
is [0 say there is any text at all? There are
only readers and their subjective readings.
The same problem existS in landscape,
which people seem to view in different
\\faYS. The question is flO{ whether people
ha\'(" different experiences of1andscape-it
is assumed they do--but whether they
read those landscape experiences in a way
that might construe a common language?

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to unckrsmnd ",-hat garnet schisc is. to un-
how geology
occurs. and fO perhaps ('l'm a merlOll
ofwhat these things look like, As a
Pearson can her
scription into parricular signs that are
shared among a group-sciemists, Land-
scape architects do this all the time when
they design to a particular context and at-
tempe to tell Stories that perhaps only
cals will truly understand.
story might go like this. My fa-
ther li\'es in che prttty lutk of
Stonington, Connecticut. day he
duuugh dr hilly woodlands 00 his
way to work and he IlO{Keli dr details of
the la:ndscape, dr dense decKluous \\'OCllk,
dr oa:asionaI dearing. and dr ubiquitouS
that divided dr land into
parcds. "lkyremind mecifiums,M hesays.
"They take me back to earl ier generations,
which issomerhing my mind loves towan-
der back to. ri This pan: of Connecticut has
experienced great change in recent years,
There may be no more
subjective experience than
that ofumdscape. Uke
language, each person may
readdifferent types and
leveLs ofmeaning into
different landscopes.
Thr best answer to chis question depends
00 whether a Story is panicu.lar or genera.l.
A panicular Story might go this.
Pcanoo is a groIogisc in San Fran-
cisrowhospendsa lot of time rock climb-
ing In NortMrn California_ Onr ofMr
spots is a called Goat Rock
located in Bay, a hours
north of tMcity. Goat Rock is Dot a chal-
lenging to climb, but Pemon likes
it bause as a reward at the end of
climbshe is treated [0 a magnificent view
of the Pacific Ocean. When she describes
this 1andsc.1pe, she talks about the small
bits of shiny-m:!. garnet schist that cover
che rock and that tdl a story about cheex-
metarnClrphic processes that formed
the To unckrstand tM SfO!)'. one
nds panicular ofgeology-
Language of Landscape
This 111111n/6, 1\lauhtu.' POlltig" u.;11 curaft
an exhibition wltd Storied Land: Land-
scapcJ Nar!aU\c.lArt at Iht Slone Qua..,.,
Hill An Park. CazmtJl1a. Ntu. York (315-
655-3196J. EI Nuevo Mundo u.;11 br 011
r-im'Jl(lIt 29-Srplt",kr 5. 1999 i" Ntu
Yri CiI) ill ,htCooptr Hm.,n National CN-
Jigrt AIMJOlll (212-860-6890).
structure) Anne' Whiston Spim raisrs
this question o:plicidy in her book. al-
hough it SffiS laden in most e\-ef}' land-
scape design that attcmpt'S to be good
and beautiful in general terms, to appeal
to morc than just a single Ot
group. Lke Conway, Spim sees the lan-
guage of 1andscaJ'(' as an forcc,
ont' that conJlt'Ct'S and IOtl"lTeWes in sur-
prising ways, MLanguagc is what links
West Philadelphia to SOffit' of the grel.f
1andscaJ'(' projts of the world-Forest
Cemetery in Stockholm, or the Bloedc:l
saysSpim. MI u.sc eheword 'Ian-
guagt deliberately. \'<'hen shaJ'(' Iand-
scaJ'(' we express meaning. LandscaJ'(' is
nOf JUSt 'Iikc language; it is a language.
And landscape' architects u.sc ie. M LA
"LAndscape is 1101 just
r[ike language,' it is a
language. And IandsClJpe
architects use it.
amully "'-eighed against (91,'0 millennia of
moaI philosophy. The larter might indeed
argue, '"Yescertain
Clin 1ando;capes uue.M
To say that landscape is a language in-
evitably oJ'('ns the Aoodgaees for thest'
rypes of questions about landscape
knowledge, landscaJ'(' J'('rceprion, and
LandscaJ'(' value. Perhaps this is becau.sc
language is so contentious. Ifthere is one
thing the posesrrucruralist5 have suc-
ceeded at in rhe last fifty years, if is mak-
ing us quesrion our assumptions about
the power and tnnhfulness of language.
But how far can this questioning pro--
ceed? Is it applicable not onl)' to thc
rnetaphoricallC\-d oflanguage, but (0 the
syntactical as weill Do we ",,'Onder about
the realiry of nouns, \'efbs. and sentence
.....-;............iiiiiiiiii
most specifically in the deo.oelopmem ci a
Iargr casino thai: bas uaffic
00 me tOIIIds and contributtd a bright glow
to horizon. In contrast, my f.uher feds
likeIr m'eS in a linkcmis that is somehow
ttSistinB thl:Rchangts.. The botdtr cLthis
OlilSis is fOrm! by rwo\'isibletdges.: a high-
....-ayand acommm:iall)'mned atCl. BUt in-
si<k of thlS demarcation. my father kels
Insulattd and prott'l"ttd from thto
ing neon. Maybt this is naive, but I ftd
like in a link He imagines
putting acompmpoimdown in rown and
swinging a radius se..eral miles in length
that would CUt JUSt inside ci a few garish
commen::ial districts, including casino.
"'You swing cllaI: circle? "Thar'sa lin:le ha,'ro.
Ic's an oosis ofbeaucifullandscape:'
Although he uses specificdetails to tell ie,
the main (hrusrs of his 1andscape narrative
at{' irs themes ofbeaury,oosis,and rnecom-
ron c:A history. As such, it is a mom! suxy
thar nnphasizes valurs. On one I('\'d. such
values are sub,ecriYe-; bm on anomer they
at{' also This is tricky ground, a
pIacc the pownodr:margument de-
bunking the ,'31idity ci text needs to be