Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Tiago Torres-Campos

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Dean Hermann


The thesis departs from the understanding of landscape as a cultural practice – an idea that has been thoroughly discussed over the last three decades, namely by Gary Snyder in the influential book of essays, “Tawny Grammar” – to research rice farming landscapes in the geographical contexts of Africa, Asia, and America. By studying the methods and infrastructural systems involved in rice production that developed independently in Asia and Africa – where they were less affected by capitalist frameworks and dualistic ideas that exclude farming from landscape architecture – the thesis seeks a more nuanced intersection of different models of rice farming and how they affect contemporary considerations of landscape in America’s social and natural contexts.

The thesis proposes a reinterpretation of the communal, family-based, and locally integrated rice systems of the Asian and African models to develop a new wet-fallow field method capable of integrating institutions and cultural and ecological communities at the regional scale of industrial rice farming contexts in California. The work aims to meaningfully contextualize landscape as a cultural practice to face contemporary needs and models of twenty-firstcentury farming.


View exhibition online: Yumeng Yan, Agricultural Landscape as Cultural Practice



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