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Naming the discipline: A comparison of three landscape architecture programs in Beijing, China

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Title: Naming the discipline: A comparison of three landscape architecture programs in Beijing, China
Author(s): Niu, Mujing
Advisor(s): Deming, Margaret E.
Department / Program: Landscape Architecture
Discipline: Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.L.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Landscape education China history
Abstract: Educators in China use different titles to name the discipline of landscape architecture. They have tried to find a word equivalent to the English term “landscape architecture,” without consensus, since the early 20th century. Especially since the 1980s, this lack of agreement has led to vigorous debate. This phenomenon is a result of people’s different understanding of “landscape architecture,” its scope and purpose. There are two main streams in this argument, “景观” (jingguan) and “风景园林” (fengjing yuanlin). Articles have been written that analyze this dichotomy from two aspects: one is the linguistic difference between the two words, the other is practical difference in between designer’s approach. However, the difference among educators’ view of history is another valuable aspect of this debate. Is this discipline a completely new one, or does it have a strong connection to the past? Here the biggest concern is about the value of traditional culture. This thesis studies landscape architecture education in China (not including HongKong, Macao, and Taiwan), in order to learn what current educators believe about this discipline: e.g. their various attitudes to the past, contemporary issues in China, and their educational practices. Three Master of Landscape Architecture programs have been chosen in Beijing (Tsinghua University, Peking University, and Beijing Forestry University) to investigate educators’ thinking and teaching. The argument of this thesis is mostly built on the interviews of some of the faculty members in these three programs, and literature review of some leading educators’ publications. The investigation also includes the institutions’ history and publications, and some of the students’ design work. Coding has been used to find the themes raised from these materials. The results of the investigation show that educators’ different views of history drive the argument of naming the discipline: some emphasize the continuity of the past to seek an evolution; while some try to break with past to seek a revolution. However, both groups share the desire to better communicate. Educators also share a consensus on contemporary issues in China, in terms of three major concerns. Finally, their educational philosophies generally match their teaching, and learning outcomes are quickly transferred to the design market due to the blooming construction practice in China.
Issue Date: 2011-01-21
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/18523
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Mujing Niu
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-01-21
2013-01-22
Date Deposited: 2010-12
 

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