Nature, Environments, & Place in American Thought

Place Studies

What can places in Winston-Salem reveal about human notions of nature, identity, and society? Each student selected a site with personal meaning — a place of reflection, leisure, learning, residence, or with a resemblance to a faraway home — and studied its history, uses, and meaning. These place studies illustrate how we invest in and extrapolate big ideas from small places. The associated digital maps demonstrate how ideas are rooted in space and geographic context.

The map also reveals how place-making is both deeply personal and shaped by cultural and environmental forces. Sometimes the ideas are bounded and remote, sometimes they overlap and reveal multi-layered meanings in shared space. The maps make visual that which otherwise remains unseen: the dynamics of personal experience, cultural values, and environmental thought embedded in the landscape.