What is the vernacular landscape?

51d9zJUTPNLEver since I read the American cultural geographer John Brinckerhoff Jackson’s brilliant and immensely-readable essays that he wrote for the journal Landscape over the course of nearly four decades, I’ve been fascinated with what he describes as the vernacular landscape. He says that it comprises the common, lived places of our lives — public parks, the high street, the marketplace, the boardwalk — where interactions and exchanges happen, where time is passed, either alone or in company, where groups congregate to celebrate a festival or to voice a protest. These are places where we spend a lot of time but don’t care to document because we know they’ll always be around. They may not endure in the same exact form, but different versions, depending on our changing needs, emerge. These places are not necessarily beautiful; they serve a purpose that is specific to the here and now. This blog is about these places.

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