The evolving meaning of site-specificity
Johnson, Rachel Karen
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Landscape architects specialize in works that are site-specific. However, the meaning of the term site-specific has evolved to no longer be defined simply as the geographic boundaries of the site, but now has a broader meaning within a global context. An understanding of a site must now include an understanding of the natural systems, as well as the political, economic, and social systems at work. As the definition of a site expands, the inherent dichotomy between local thinking and global thinking also expands. This thesis uses Miwon Kwon’s three paradigms of site-specificity as the basis for a theoretical framework, to which contemporary theories on nomadism and general systems thinking are added. The author then analyzes the paradigms through the lens of four contemporary site-specific works. Finally, the author analyzes a contemporary landscape design to illustrate the ways in which the concepts utilized in the four paradigms can benefit the practice of landscape architecture.