MESSAGE IN THE PLAZA: LANDSCAPE, LANDSCAPING, AND FOREST DISCOURSE IN HONDURAS*

Authors


  • *

    The author would like to thank the late Terry Jordan-Bychkov, Bill Doolittle, Bill Davidson, and Steve Hoelscher for supporting my research interests. Scott Brady kindly read and offered comments on an earlier draft of this article. The editors of the Geographical Review, Douglas Johnson and Viola Haarmann, and anonymous reviewers offered helpful comments and suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript. Financial support was provided by the Tinker Foundation, Study Abroad Programs at the University of Texas, Austin and the Peninsula Community Foundation. Most important, I would like to thank the many Hondurans who invited me into their homes and lives and from whom I learned much.

Abstract

ABSTRACT. As visible, material expression of human activities and goals, the landscape communicates as well as reflects. Specific landscapes communicate specific messages within the public sphere of which they are a part. In Honduras, many plaza landscapes have seen recent changes in form and in what they communicate. Once open, treeless spaces, many Honduran plazas are now filled with trees. These trees often support signs announcing the virtues of forests, linking the trees themselves to the official discourse on forest issues and illuminating the role of public-space landscapes in influencing public perception. This article points out the links between such iconographic landscapes and the complex, multitiered environmental issues that are part of environmental conditions and their perception by local actors.

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