Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (2.8 MB)

Title: Visions of nature: conflict and compatibility

Author: Gobster, Paul H.;

Date: 2001

Source: Landscape and Urban Planning 56:35-51

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Although various disciplines have developed "objective" principles and practices for landscape restoration in recent decades, the concept of restoration itself often rests on subjective questions of cultural value. Issues related to restoring the naturalness of urban open spaces were explored in a planning effort for an area of parkland along Chicago's lakefront. Four different "visions of nature" emerged through dialogue with stakeholders, each emphasizing a different set of characteristics related to the landscape's perceived structure and function as well as its human values and uses: (1) nature as designed landscape, where the concern was to restore the original 1938 naturalistic design for the site by a noted landscape architect; (2) nature as habitat, where individuals sought to restore a hedgerow created during the 1950s that has since become a magnet for migrating birds; (3) nature as recreation, where a variety of interests sought to balance nature restoration goals with the preservation of established recreational activities occurring on and adjacent to the site; and (4) nature as pre-European settlement landscape, where individuals sought to restore the site as a reflection of the regional landscape as it may have existed before development of Chicago in the 1830s. It became clear during the course of the effort that the landscape features some individuals sought to restore had attained an iconic status, symbolizing for them meanings and values deeper than what might be discerned by those not intimately knowledgeable of the site and its social context, and that the preservation and enhancement of these features needed to be a central part of any final plan for the site. Trying to maintain these icons in accommodating the various visions of nature did give rise to some conflicts, but stakeholder negotiations also showed how the visions were compatible and how iconic features might "nest" within each other as a result of different scales and locations of concern. Implications for landscape design and management are discussed.

Keywords: Urban parks, Nature, Restoration, Landscape icons, Stakeholder perceptions, Chicago

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.



Gobster, Paul H. 2001. Visions of nature: conflict and compatibility. Landscape and Urban Planning 56:35-51


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.