The use of the word “landscape” to describe the formation and infrastructure of cities largely seems to express contemporary preoccupations with the post-industrial urban condition. Yet, features associated with contemporary urban landscapes—most notably the forms of human adaptation to and reshaping of the sites where cities develop and expand—can also be found in pre-industrial contexts in different time periods and across the globe.
Organized by Georges Farhat (University of Toronto) and John Beardsley (Dumbarton Oaks), the Garden and Landscape Studies symposium “Landscapes of Pre-Industrial Cities” explores the complex and dynamic relationship between environmental factors and the development of urban form. How was the modern dichotomy between the urban and the rural historically expressed with respect to land use, environmental control, and resource management? To what extent were territorial expansion, hydraulic management, and land reclamation determinant factors in the design, evolution, and historical fortunes of pre-industrial cities? What sense can we make of the contemporary concepts of urban sprawl, biodiversity, climate change, connectivity, and integrated management of natural resources if applied to pre-industrial urban landscapes?
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