Observation Assignment: Britton Plaza Landscape as System

At first glance, Britton Plaza is a place I have walked through many a times. It seems like I walk though it at least once a day if not more. For this assignment, I tried to see this landscape as a system. Using systems thinking, it seems like Britton is more like a system within systems. Like mentioned in “The Beholding Eye” by D.W. Meinig, the trees are a subsystem acting as chemical factories and biological transformers of energy (Meinig 3). There are systems within each building surrounding Britton Plaza, like the Holland Union Building (HUB), Biddle House (the career center and the register’s office), and the library. Each building has a separate function. However, all these buildings exist in the network of interactions. By looking at the flows, these buildings start to create a matrix of interactions. Instead of just seeing objects, there are elements like people, trees, outdoor seating areas, the seal, and bike racks in additions to the buildings. These elements all interconnect and interact. The exchanges of ideas and information create a social system. The weather is even a part of the system. Good weather might cause more people to engage with the outdoors spaces like the seating areas and create more exchanges. The seal reflects some form of self-organization, since we adapt with changing conditions to not step on the seat. When is snows a pattern is created to walk a circle around the seal as to achieve the purpose, avoiding the seal.

Meinig also states that “landscape can be regarded as a laboratory” (4). We can observe the landscape with its “dynamic equilibrium of interacting processes” to study the world (3). It is also important for me to note, my way of analysis and synthesizing the systems at play may be completely different than others. This is also just one small segment of larger systems, so when thinking about system we should keep our system boundaries in mind.

This entry was posted in Risk and resilience and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.