Landscape narratives and the construction of meaning in the contemporary urban canal-scape

Millman, Millman (2012) Landscape narratives and the construction of meaning in the contemporary urban canal-scape. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


Download (15MB)


The research explores the ways in which individuals within a diverse urban society perceive and interact with the regenerated urban canal-scape examining the process and dynamics by which individuals construct personal meanings relating to the canal landscape with emphasis on the central canal area (Brindleyplace) of Birmingham, UK.

Specific phenomenological and performative methodologies are developed to elicit qualitative, self-reflexive landscape responses focussing on the use of walking in the landscape, combined with narrative-representational approaches, both vision and language-based. Data are collected using a series of in-situ and ex-situ studies including: collaborative ‘Walking-and-Talking’ exercises; semistructured interviews, or ‘Conversations’; self-reflexive exercises such as diaries and a remote postcard study and participant-observation exercises based on group activities in the canal-scape.

Findings suggest that individuals’ landscape perceptions are constructed through experiences and memories of other landscapes, both physically known and those only imagined. Participants display congruencies and divergences regarding notions of iconic landscape components and perceptual themes which may be contrary to the established norms of canal-scape meaning. The study stresses the use and importance of individual narratives as indicators of how participants think about and use the landscape as part of their life activities, how they perceive it, how they project themselves onto it, construct meanings around it. Results indicate that the locomotive-narrative methodologies developed in response to the research parameters are highly conducive to the evocation and expression of multi-modal landscape perceptions, including references to memories and associations.

Research was carried out in collaboration with British Waterways and funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council under a Collaborative Doctoral Award.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Date: February 2012
Subjects: K300 Landscape Design
K900 Others in Architecture, Building and Planning
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
REF UoA Output Collections > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2017 08:56
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2017 09:45

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...