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Ideologies of Nature in the Landscape Architecture and Urban Development of the Postwar American South, 1955–1975

Nicholas Serrano, North Carolina State University, Junior Fellow 2017–2018

I sought to understand how professional practice and landscape architectural projects contributed to the physical and imaginative identity of urban development in a region that was paramount to growing the profession, but which has received scant scholarly attention by historians of the built environment. My research adds to a growing body of literature that has so far been limited to social and political histories by contributing a perspective focused on the designed environment. The time at Dumbarton Oaks allowed me to greatly expand on the racial foundations behind postwar development and gardening culture, particularly in the first half of my dissertation looking at community planning and garden design in mixed-use suburban development. Although I did not finish this project as originally intended, the time and space to work through these ideas allowed me to recognize the value in expanding my dissertation to incorporate these racial issues, which will interest a wider audience and ultimately make my research timelier in our current political climate.