Landscape and Place in the Geographical Review

By Colten, Craig E. | The Geographical Review, January 2010 | Go to article overview

Landscape and Place in the Geographical Review


Colten, Craig E., The Geographical Review


As part of the 2007 Wrigley-Fairchild award session during the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, former Geographical Review Editor Paul Starrs dramatically unveiled the ten most influential articles to have appeared in the journal (Starrs 2007) (Table I). Among them are true landmarks; and what caught my attention was the number that touched on the concepts of place and landscape. These topics have been a mainstay of twentieth-century geography and likewise prominent among the titles in the Geographical Review. I want to use Starrs's "top ten" list to frame a brief discussion about the evolving approaches to the study of landscape and place in the Geographical Review. My comments touch on only a pair of research themes and a highly selective set of contributions to this journal; the larger body of articles that address landscape and place exemplifies much of what is good about the Geographical Review--namely, continuity and the journal's role as a forum for ongoing discussions about enduring geographical subjects.

TABLE I--TOP TEN ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN THE GEOGRAPHICAL REVIEW

AUTHOR                TITLE               YEAR OF        VOLUME,
                                        PUBLICATION      ISSUE,
                                                         AND PAGE
                                                         NUMBERS

Yi-Fu Tuan         Place: An                1975       65 (2): 151-165
                   Experiential
                   Perspective

Carl O. Sauer      The Personality of       1941       31 (3): 353-364
                   Mexico

Mark Jefferson     The Law of the           1939       29 (2): 226-232
                   Primate City

David Lowenthal    Past Time, Present       1975       65 (1): 1-36
                   Place: Landscape
                   and Memory

Isaiah Bowman      Scientific Study of      1926       16 (3): 647-653
                   Settlement

Edward L. Ullman   Amenities                1954       44 (1): 119-132
                   as a Factor in
                   Regional Growth

Larry R. Ford      Continuity               1995       85 (3): 552-568
                   and Change in
                   the American City
Dan Stanislawski   Early Spanish Town       1947       37 (1): 94-105
                   Planning in the
                   New World

Wilbur Zelinsky    The Hypothesis           1971       61 (2): 219-149
                   of the Mobility
                   Transition

Fred B. Kniffen    Building in Wood in      1966       56 (1): 40-66
and Henry Glassie  the Eastern
                   United States: A
                   Time-Place
                   Perspective

Jean Gottmann      Why the Skyscraper?      1966       56(2): 190-212

James J. Parsons   A Geographer Looks       1986       76 (4): 371-389
                   at the San J
                   oaquin Valley

Source: Starrs 2007.

Starrs's ranking of articles drew on a two-stage survey of selected journal readers: The first stage solicited personal lists of the most influential articles; the second allowed respondents to rank the top titles from the larger preliminary inventory. Methodology and specific rankings aside, Starrs captured an unquestionably prominent set. I touch on several articles from the list to showcase their position and influence in the ongoing discussions of landscape and place.

Dan Stanislawski and Edward Price's inclusion in the Geographical Review "hit parade" denotes a powerful influence on the traditional approaches to landscape. Stanislawski's 1947 "Early Spanish Town Planning" is a prime example of work that influenced subsequent scholars and indeed provided a touchstone for numerous articles appearing here. It focused on the material etching of a street grid into the colonial soil of Latin America, using a diffusionist model. Another classic on town planning was Price's 1968 examination of the American courthouse square. …

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