Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms
The Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms (CLC) project is a multi-disciplinary web-based learning experience aimed at middle school classrooms that uses the potential of new web-based technologies. The CLC approach draws on a long tradition in the arts which values the unique ways in which the arts help people to see and understand the landscape. Users will be able to “visit” a familiar cultural landscape structured as an analytic viewing experience that draws upon historical and cultural information with reference to other art forms.
The CLC project aims to educate by encouraging an awareness of the necessity
for preserving cultural heritage. The CLC will teach users to “read”
the landscape that is part of everyday life, while nurturing stewardship.
Because users differ in how they respond to interactive material, there
are various ways to journey through these virtual cultural landscapes.
Users can zoom in and out or click on a feature within a map of the cultural
landscape for more details. There are also special categories that present
a framework for viewing cultural landscapes that guide exploration through
an array of pre-selected material for each map location. The CLC internet
site, which will be mounted in association with the MIT Press will include
lesson plans, an archive option that provides historic and contemporary
source material for the site, and an evaluation tool.
The CLC program focuses on the following five individual project sites:
Columbus Park, Chicago, IL: Designed by Jens Jensen, ca. 1910, this neighborhood park is a masterwork of prairie-style landscape architecture. (See www.tclf.org/columbus)
The City of Savannah, GA: James Edward Oglethorpe's ca. 1730s pioneering city planning concept (being produced in cooperation with Savannah College of Art & Design).
Rancho Los Alamitos, Long Beach, CA: A California ranch with substantial designed landscape components, its changing uses and surroundings over hundreds of years.
Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA: The first designed rural cemetery, created in the 1830s, was a precursor to the American park movement. (See www.tclf.org/mtauburn)
The Cradle of Modernism, Columbus, IN: Focusing on the city’s significant collection of modern architecture and landscape architecture.
Chicago’s Columbus Park is the first website module expected for completion in March 2002. This module will have eleven different nodes that the viewer can choose to explore, including such locations as the Waterfalls, Refectory, Players’ Hill, Prairie River, Golf Course, and Field House. As the user tours the landscape, he will use the map to “walk around” the park. A Visitors Guide will always be handy in case the user wants to know more about one of the topics.