Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Project

Advisor(s)

Stephanie Kaza, PhD

Dona Brown, PhD

Walter Poleman, PhD

Abstract

Landscape analysis explores the social and ecological processes that drive landscape patterns, and is closely allied with landscape ecology and geography. UVM's PLACE (Place-based Landscape Analysis and Community Engagement) Program is a collaboration with Shelburne Farms, and uses landscape analysis to express an integrative “story of place” through the lenses of the physical, ecological and cultural landscapes. While landscape analysis field methods address the physical and ecological landscapes, no clear methodology has emerged to support a holistic analysis of the cultural landscape and an understanding of relationships with place. Oral history is an open-ended, flexible method that engages diverse perspectives and generates rich detail and context in long-form narratives. It has produced important ecological knowledge, as well as other social benefits, for natural resource planning (Holmes and Pilkington, 2011; Colburn and Clay, 2007; Robertson and McGee, 2003). Using the rich cultural and ecological landscape of the lower Winooski intervale in Burlington, VT, as a case study, this project explored the value of oral history as a methodology in landscape analysis, with a particular focus on land use practices (including agriculture, foraging, and hunting); ecological information and site-specific stories; feelings and values about the land; and visions for its future. Oral histories produced important stories and knowledge about landscape change and natural communities in the lower Winooski intervale, as well as revealing meanings and values useful for an integrative and inclusive understanding of place. From oral histories, short audio pieces were produced and incorporated into an interactive, web-based “sound map”, demonstrating how sound and stories can be used to explore and express sense of place.

Comments

Audio files are from the online, interactive sound map associated with this project, available at: http://placestories.com/project/8328