Towards an understanding of the horizontal landscape: a phenomenological study of sense of place in Chautauqua Park, Des Moines, Iowa
Positivistic paradigms have traditionally excluded subjective experiences and interpretations of the horizontal landscape in their analysis of existing neighborhoods. This thesis examines an existential-phenomenological approach in the investigation of sense of place as a single experience contained within the horizontal landscape. Specifically, the existential nature of sense of place is studied within the neighborhood context of Chautauqua Park, Des Moines, Iowa. Sense of place was conceptualized as a process of transformation and found to be influenced by foundational attributes, essential experiences, and environmental interpretations. In Chautauqua Park, the physical environment, the integrated demographic population, and active choice represented collective foundational attributes from which all residential experiences and interpretations stemmed. Likewise, three essential experiences including investment, interaction, and safety comprised the elements of human activity common throughout the descriptive accounts and influential throughout the process of spatial transformation. The implications of these findings and the implications of a phenomenological approach in the investigation of the horizontal landscape are discussed in the context of contemporary design and planning processes.