Planning a changing landscape: Ecology, history, and planning at Long Pond, Pennsylvania

Daniel Jordan Marcucci, University of Pennsylvania


The premise of this dissertation is: landscape planning is the best means we have to perpetuate an environment which is abundant for human sustenance and experience as well as protective of biological integrity. The increased focus on the ecology and planning of landscapes over the last three decades has contributed to an improved understanding of them as a setting for life. This has led to important emerging principles about landscapes including: holism, especially with respect to natural and human elements; contextual specificity, both geographically and temporally; and persistent dynamism. Persistent dynamism underlies a constantly evolving and changing landscape. The challenge for landscape planning lies in incorporating the concept of constantly changing, or evolving, landscapes into the planning process. This dissertation advances on two fronts simultaneously: one is theoretical in nature and the other methodological. The theoretical branch of this work depends upon a review and analysis of the literature on physical environmental planning and landscape theory. The methodological branch looks at the question of how planners can include phenomena of change into planning methods. More specifically, the use of a particular form of history, a landscape history, is proposed as a means of meeting the challenge for planners. The case of Long Pond, Pennsylvania is presented by way of example. Each focus leads to conclusions about incorporating the concept of perpetually changing landscapes into planning. First, the four general goals of planning--creation of community benefit, environmental fitness, sense of place, and sustainability--must be revised to be consistent with outcomes that are bound to evolve and change. Second, a landscape history, revealing keystone processes, is necessary to expose the dynamic patterns of a specific landscape. Incorporated into the planning process, such a history is a valuable planning tool. Three ways the history can improve the planning process is by: enhancing the inventory through improved description; providing a valid context to identify issues, problems, and desired outcomes; and influencing plan making by improving prediction and prescription.

Subject Area

Urban planning|Area planning & development|Ecology

Recommended Citation

Marcucci, Daniel Jordan, "Planning a changing landscape: Ecology, history, and planning at Long Pond, Pennsylvania" (1998). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9829940.