Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Leslie Lee

Second Advisor

Eric Kramer


When it comes to remnant landscapes, what else can they be instead of being turned into parks, community gardens, or new architectural or urban development?

This thesis starts with a critique towards the very popular post-industrial park, the High Line, where the original materials of the site was completed removed then artificially re-fabricated. By transforming it into a publicly well accessible landscape, the design destroyed the possibility for a citizen to build his/her own intimate relationship with this piece of land because of a much visible ownership. Therefore, the goal for the thesis is to provide a powerful critique to our discipline’s standard response to urban landscape related issues.

The thesis is structured in three phases. In Phase One, by drawing timelines of related issues, conducting case studies in and outside the discipline and many other research methods, the author got a holistic understanding of how remnant landscapes are perceived in different disciplines and in different historical periods, how people verbalize or depict such kind of spaces, and what the cultural and social contexts that account for certain opinions about them are. In Phase Two, half of the effort was dedicated to finding a more precise thesis question, and the other half was dedicated to understanding the site from urban scale, local scale to site scale. In Phase Three, time was spent to establish a development guideline at an urban scale that claims the authors’ political stance as an landscape architect, as well as to test a simple design idea at the site scale.

The thesis ends with a concept of the Homo Sapiens Preserves - which is the destination for escaping from the rigid social norm. It is the place to touch the earth, the land and the ground, where there is no surveillance nor control. It is the church, the temple, the mosque, the very place for anxious city dwellers to contemplate, where challenges the notion of recreation and re-defines values. It is the dystopian utopia, the shrine for modernity, the home of everyone.

Rather than an academy publication, this thesis book is more like a personal documentation of the three-month journey full of interesting explorations and exciting experiments.



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