What is Landscape?

Landscape is the book in which the separate pages of Geography - space, place and environment - are bound together. This is a surprisingly difficult question. It is, essentially, the question to which this whole web site is an answer. Even a simple definition would depend very much on the person who gave it. To a geomorphologist, a landscape might be an assemblage of landforms. To a human geographer it might be a cultural representation that structures our surroundings into a symbolic meaning. For many of us, the idea of landscape begins with images of scenery: panoramic vistas of the spectacular, exotic and remote; a dynamic montage of the vibrant urban scene; a familiar representation of a favourite location.

Landscape can be read. And it can be written. But there is more to landscape than just scenery, and more than the purely visual. The view (which of course depends on our viewpoint) is a starting point for getting to grips with landscape, but no more than a starting point. If you are just beginning your exploration of this site, consider the image below of Monument Valley. Write yourself a list of what you see in the picture. Put the list somewhere safe and we will refer to it later on. What can you identify in this landscape? What is in the landscape? What is the landscape? What in this photograph is not part of the landscape?

Monument Valley. Image from wikimedia commonsMonument Valley. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

If you want to look at this landscape in more detail and see if we can expand your list, there's a page here that looks at this Monument Valley view in a bit more depth.

this site is part of