Landscape as the reflection of self
Many people have had the experience of looking at a beautiful curved walkway or curvature in a piece of mode and reacted to that on a visceral level, as different to something that’s very sharp and angular, that we might not feel as inclined to approach as we would something with curves, those kinds of responses are more intuitive and may even be written in our genes but some responses to our surroundings are primarily influenced by our familiarity, understanding, and principles.
The surrounding – compromising elements of nature, artifacts and people busy with various forms of activity – is part of the landscape we have to do within our expectations. John B. Jackson mentions that landscape ‘is never simply a natural space, a feature of the natural environment. By which feature in compromises the place where we establish our own human organization of space and time’. Since humans depend on landscapes for resources, alter landscapes for myriad reasons we could definitely say that it is a human-landscape interaction, also often it is described as nature-society or human-environment interactions. In an understanding that people act on and even produce the natural world, and in doing so cultivate a new relationship with the environment.
This means that the understanding of urban landscapes is associated with the environment as a context of action. Don Mitchell (2003a, 2001, and 1996) argues that landscape is not the setting for human activity, it is the product and outcome of such activity. Therefore we study landscapes for what they may reveal about the nature of human social and economic relations.
As the pre-eminent scholar of the vernacular landscape, James Brinkerhoff (J.B.) Jackson articulates the important connection between landscape and culture. Jackson discusses two landscapes: one is political and defined by socially recognized markers and boundaries, the other is inhibited and understood through layers of meaning produced by people’s engagements with their environments and the spaces of their everyday lives. He suggests that the political landscape represented through symbols such as monuments, fences, and steeples is a manifestation of the social order.
The inhabited landscape-often without markings- is where people feel an emotional connection to nature and a sense of belonging in the world. For Jackson, these landscapes are not separable; in fact, they come together in the way people have lived and learned to work the land. One way of thinking about this is to say that apparently natural entities or environments are, to speak of, ‘socially constructed’. We project our perceptions, values, and attitudes onto objects and landscapes, and so they become readable as ‘maps of meaning’ (Jackson, 1989). It should be stated that many objects produced by men assume meanings that go far beyond their practical function.
How we construct the world around us and place ourselves in it is by no means the same for all people and cultures assuming the difference of their symbolic, religious, historical, aesthetic or other social dimensions, and nature accompanying them, included in the connotation field, which is the ‘nature as culture’. The landscape becomes a cultural landscape in which the opposition acquire symbolic significance through being imprinted within shared and collective circuits of cultural meaning.