Perspectives on the landscape of the Patterson Park Pagoda

Authors: Cooper Savage*, Towson University
Topics: Landscape, Urban Geography, Historical Geography
Keywords: Patterson Park Observatory, human-place relations, meaning of place, landscape, historical geography, Baltimore
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research develops a spectrum of meanings of place for the Patterson Park Observatory (the Pagoda) in Baltimore, Maryland. Revealing the meaning of place of a public landmark can be achieved by investigating the sense of the place the population of people who are most connected to it have of it. The observed population are Pagoda Docents of the Friends of Patterson Park civic group and subjects associated with this urban greenspace's “Friends of” organization. One-on-one interviews with the population of study are the source of the data relevant to determining contemporary perspectives on the Pagoda. In the interviews I have sought recollections of the subjects experiences at the Pagoda, their intentions there, descriptions of the land and place, prevalent attitudes, and accounts and interpretations of community-place relations to develop a spectrum of meanings of place of the Pagoda and reveal the many facets of this humanized landscape. The historicity of the construction of the building within the space of Patterson Park and the space of the Pagoda relative to historical events connected with it, including the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, inform temporal dynamics associated with this landscape. Here I juxtapose historical landscape narratives and competing contemporary perspectives to create a testament to the living meaning of the Patterson Park Pagoda and its surrounding landscape of public greenspace on a scale from place to neighborhood and beyond.

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