Redefining Productivity: How can a productive landscape be redefined for social change?
Type of Degreethesis
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The landscape has always been expected to produce something, whether it be a crop, a mineral, a view, a resting place, or even an opportunity. In the small town of Loachapoka, Alabama, (pop. 162) the residents have become separated from the landscapes that once supported it in many physical, social, and spiritual ways. What was once a major setting for social interaction is now used by machinery to maintain or cultivate for the production of a physical object. For this project, therefore, productive landscapes are re-introduced as a means of bringing the community together again; production is now redefined with a tie to social capital. The design research explained here focuses production on the physical output of planted species as an opportunity for social interaction. By using three native plant species which produce fruit under limited supervision/maintenance, provide exceptional gathering places through planted form, have the potential for economic development, and conform in many ways to Loachapoka’s historic productive landscape, the designs focus on providing an opportunity for people to once more interact with one another within the landscape. The project proposes a 3.5 acre blueberry patch planted by students on school grounds, a 12 acre muscadine vineyard surrounding a gathering/performance stage, and a pecan grove strategically placed along the highway’s shoulder and throughout residents’ properties, forming a continuous network of trails.