Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Emily Vogler

Second Advisor

Adam Anderson


This thesis examines the relationship between two large infrastructure systems: the railway and agriculture. It’s becoming increasingly important as unhealthy nation-wide industrial agriculture is destroying people’s health and decreasing the long-term capacity of sustainable production of food. In the discipline of landscape architecture, there is a necessity to reform our thinking to match the modern-day development in population growth, transportation and mass production. There exists vast farmlands outside our city, which support our city life with energy and food sources. How could we get people to understand its significance? In chapter I and II, the history of agriculture and railway in America is narrated to prove the possibilities of bringing people back to the farm.

Chapter III and IV talks about how the picturesque landscape has been neglected and falls to catch people’s attention and argues that the extreme, distorted, moving scenery will focus our attention. landscape design could sit between the scenic landscape and our eye to shape our relationship with the productive landscape. Using the experience of riding trains passing by farmlands as a testing ground, the experimentations prove that the construction of lenses can help shift people’s experience and focal-point. In the final chapter, the proposals are made based on the personal experience of travelling from Albany to Pittsfield. Building stops along the railway could reconnect people to the local farm and build respect and understanding through participatory experiences. The stops could also work as a regional activation point for agriculture as it connects customers and farmers. By bringing people back to the agricultural land, the trip system built on top of the existing railway structures will bring prosperity to sustainable agriculture.


View exhibition online: Tianyi Xie, OPTICS | PERCEPTION | EXPERIENCE



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