The Puzzles and Promise of Campus Landscape Preservation: Integrating Sustainability, Historic Landscapes, and Institutional Change: Several of the Campus Heritage Plans Funded by the Getty Foundation Served as Laboratories for Cultural Landscape Preservation

By Martin, Frank Edgerton | Planning for Higher Education, April-June 2011 | Go to article overview

The Puzzles and Promise of Campus Landscape Preservation: Integrating Sustainability, Historic Landscapes, and Institutional Change: Several of the Campus Heritage Plans Funded by the Getty Foundation Served as Laboratories for Cultural Landscape Preservation


Martin, Frank Edgerton, Planning for Higher Education


Several of the campus heritage plans funded by the Getty Foundation served as laboratories for applying the relatively new field of cultural landscape preservation to campus planning. (1) With a strong landscape component, the heritage plans of The University of Kansas, Cranbrook Academy, the University of California, Berkeley, and elsewhere remind us that landscape preservation is inherently different from architectural preservation--and that the young field remains far richer in edifying puzzles than proven answers. The Getty Foundation-funded plans also remind us that planners should always challenge the assumed wisdom about what is "historic" and how to steward it.

Having contributed to two of the campus heritage plans as a landscape historian, I have come to learn that the rigidity of our beliefs about what is "historically significant" on a campus often leads to preserving static physical qualities with little regard for character-rich ecological systems, town-gown connections, and institutional culture. For too long, officials at state offices of historic preservation and many preservation consultants have assumed that the new sustainability and the preservation of designed campus landscapes, such as quads and formal gardens, must be at loggerheads. Recent sustainable practices, such as rainwater swales and gardens, green roofs, and permeable paving, are often forbidden in campus historic districts because they did not exist during some official "period of historic significance." Many campus leaders also still view architectural and landscape preservation as a fundamental threat to new programs and institutional competitiveness.

Yet, as a field only about 30 years old, historic landscape preservation can help planners to challenge these old assumptions that historic resources must be frozen in time. Historic landscape stewardship is fundamentally different from the preservation of buildings and the curation of museum artifacts. Like generations of students and alumni, campus landscapes, if managed well, can be self-renewing. But unlike a Greek vase or a historic classroom building, they are never quite the same at two points in time. So from what period should a specific campus landscape be preserved? Is it even possible or desirable to pose a single period of significance for a campus as a whole? In most cases, probably not. How do we frame periods of historic significance or, more realistically, successional historic landscapes within a campus as a whole?

In several of the completed campus heritage plans, we can find site-specific decisions regarding some of these landscape preservation dilemmas. Yet we should note that these strategies are choices made and not universal solutions. There remains no one set of best practices in campus landscape preservation-and this lack of resolution may be why its puzzles can enrich heritage preservation discourse overall.

How Can We Define a Campus's Essential Character?

At its core, historic landscape preservation on campus means getting to the bottom of things, knowing what is the baseline character of spaces, roads, walks, lawns, and water features that, if altered or lost, would severely harm the campus's "historic integrity." In preservation terms, "character-defining features" are the sine qua non, the bedrock that must be saved if a campus is to retain its historic integrity and eligibility for recognition such as inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Campus cultural landscapes are not discrete sets of objects but rather connected systems of spaces, topography, vegetation, and circulation. Character-defining features matter because if we can define them, we can also find ways to protect them while accommodating new programs and improving campus sustainability, safety, and accessibility. Of course, like constitutional law, the qualities of historic landscape character are entirely open to interpretation--and that is partly why they are so fascinating. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Puzzles and Promise of Campus Landscape Preservation: Integrating Sustainability, Historic Landscapes, and Institutional Change: Several of the Campus Heritage Plans Funded by the Getty Foundation Served as Laboratories for Cultural Landscape Preservation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.