Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Emily Vogler

Second Advisor

Jacob Mitchell


The Fen River, located at the Loess Plateau in Shanxi Province, is one of the most important life sources for local people. Most residents in the past relied on farming to make life. As the only riverway that could serve for irrigation in the region, Fen River provided a huge amount of water and fed plenty of people. In addition, nearby lands were vastly used for agricultural purposes. The river acts as a spine to support people’s life for a long time. It is also called as the Mother River in the region.

However, as cities in the region quickly developed over past decades, past farmlands have gradually replaced by concrete and skyscrapers. Existing farmlands are squeezed to the city’ s edges. Furthermore, rural life and agricultural practices gradually retreat from people’ s current life. People who memorize the past rural life can only find them outside of city and in mountain areas. Current water use also switches to industrial development, some agriculture, etc.

In addition, the river starts to meet a lot of issues because of human activities and industrial development, including water pollution, wastewater discharge, etc. The river also become discrete from people’s life and production. Now, we won’t say Fen River is the mother river that offers us huge benefit, but we ignore it and discard it accompanied with past rural practices.

I don’t want to let the mother river down and disappeared in our life. This river as a carrier has already linked multi-decade culture and history in the region. I believe it could adapt to current changes and civilization and reconnect water, rural and urban landscape again, and it could provide new opportunities for human life.


View exhibition online: Rui Yang, The Mother River: Restoring, Transiting, and Producing



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.