Project Proposal: Final Draft - 11 Apr. 2011
AESTHETICS AND FUNCTION OF RURAL TONGAN LANDSCAPE DESIGN
A Field Study Proposal
STATEMENT OF INTENT
Landscape architecture or landscape design is a discipline largely concentrated in developed countries. However, interest is growing on how this might be applied internationally. Although minimal research information is available on rural landscape design in Tonga, appreciation and function of the outdoor space are prominent in cultural beliefs. This study will explore and document the specific functions of rural residential plots by evaluating residential layouts and location-specific design. The purpose of this field study is to gain an understanding of function in these areas by coming to understand how users interact with these spaces. Design is defined largely as the layout of the outdoor space in this instance. Included within that definition is an attempt to understand what is considered pleasing or aesthetic in Tonga. The final result will be a series of landscape drawings of rural Tongan properties, expressed verbally in an analysis of the cultural understanding gained of the purpose of function and aesthetics during the field study experience.
My academic interests for participating in a field study are driven by a desire to explore how my education might be applied internationally. As will be discussed again in the background and significance section, landscape architecture is just beginning to move into developing countries. In the future I hope to have opportunities to work abroad. Participating in a field study is an experience that provides preparation for that goal. Unlike other opportunities I have had to travel and live in various parts of the world, this experience will incorporate my education in landscape management. Upon completion of this project I will be able to include my analysis in graduate school applications and on my resume. By focusing on function, many lessons learned in the field will likely be incorporated into my design approach in my future as well.
This specific study addresses an area of personal interest, which is functional design. Ultimately, three months focused on researching the basic function and aesthetic qualities will lead to a better understanding of landscape design. I recognize that landscape design is minimal in Tonga. However, this is beneficial because my focus will be on the basic components of residential design. I hope to further understand what makes a space functional by delving into contributing facts such as size and shape of the area, amount of seating, shade coverage, and proximity to the home. By researching these factors I will also come to understand the relevance of aesthetics in rural Tongan landscapes. Within this aspect of the study I will determine societal expectations of landscape upkeep and how that may differ from areas visible from the property’s entrance and the area behind the home. The overarching question I will answer is: What is the function of residential properties in Tonga and how, if at all, are aesthetics incorporated into the layout?
The personal benefits of participating in a field study stem largely from the opportunity to experience life as a culture other than my own sees it. I recognize it will be a challenge to immerse myself in a culture and that the responsibility to do so is my own. Yet experiences such as this promote personal growth and I look forward to seeing the personal I will become by the time I return. I initially considered Ghana as my location because I love the country and wanted to return. However, I changed to Tonga because I wanted an entirely new experience. As I have researched and learned more about it, I realized my project is a good fit for Tongan culture and perceptions of the land.
BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE/LITERATURE REVIEW
In 1875, King George Tupou I of Tonga unified the islands with a constitution exclaiming, “ko e 'Otua mo Tonga ko hoku Tofi'a” or “God and Tonga are my inheritance.”2 From that moment King Tupou coined the phrase that became the national motto and is incorporated in the national crest. The phrase explains two ideals of theTongan culture: Christianity and the land. The importance of the earth in Tonga is reflected in a few laws detailed in the constitution. One such law forbids foreigners from owning land, giving nobles the authority to distribute plots of land to the Tongan people. Many feel it is a personal stewardship to maintain the land in respect for God. Such beliefs are understood by those laws found within the constitution reinforcing Tongan land ownership.
As a whole the kingdom of Tonga covers 171 islands, totaling 288 square miles. Yet only 46 of those islands are suitable for habitation by a population of about 103,000. Limited land availability, population migration, and stimulating the economy are among the major concerns of the Tongan government. To some extent, each of these issues can be addressed through landscape management, planning, and design. Looking for a resolution with this approach can improve the standard of living on an individual property level by maximizing the functional use of a given space. This can be spread to affect the kingdom at large maximizing function of the limited available space. A Tongan newspaper recently stated: “Agriculture is really the only sector that can provide work for such a large section of the population.”5 The conflict of developing large plots of land for agricultural purposes returns to the issue of limited available and suitable space for such projects. The resulting gap can be filled by the principles of functional design. Unfortunately with limited research done in Tonga on this subject, resolution of these issues remains at a standstill.
The proposed project addresses maximizing the function of residential plots, thus searching for potential answers to the problems facing the Tongan government. Development in general leads to a better standard of living with the potential to decrease migration and manage the limited space. While the focus of this study is not to address government issues, that may be a byproduct of such research. Developing countries have an advantage by learning from the progression of landscape planning in more developed countries.4 Landscape architecture can aid in short and long term development by capitalizing on existing environmental assets.4 A study led by landscape architects in the Philippines noted the benefits derived from a community housing development. This project actively involved the recipients of better housing, which improved the community through social, economic, educational and other developmental aspects.8 These benefits came as a result of small scale development. Such research suggests the residential development correlates with satisfaction and standard of living.
Although little research about landscape architecture and design has been done specifically in Tonga, the world’s focus on sustainability provides a gap to be filled by this profession. Landscape design is classified as organizational structure which maximizes the frequency of interactions within a unit of organization.7 It is a process of observation, planning, and evaluating functional use of space to provide maximum benefit to the users. It is within this context that I intend to research Tongan interaction with the rural residential landscape to determine function. The term landscape in this study includes vegetation, microclimates, structures, and general ecology.
Function is an essential element to maximize the potential of a given space. In terms of landscape design, function is the interaction between landscape elements, specifically inhabitants and these elements. Function and practicalities are often overlooked in the context of design. It is overshadowed because design planning frequently focuses on aesthetic value.3 Yet as aesthetics is dependent on cultural perceptions, an initial survey of the Tongan norm will be crucial. A study on traditional designs showed a change in traditional art from strictly geometric shapes to include more representational designs in the nineteenth century.1 This indicates an aesthetic appreciation for order as expressed in the geometric shapes. Yet representational designs introduce an appeal to natural lines and curves. Such aesthetic appeals may be indicative of what designs would be accepted as aesthetic in Tongan culture. Much of the field study research will be centered on understanding aesthetic qualities of current Tongan landscapes and what values dictate the layout of a residential plot.
In exploring the relevance of this type of project in a developing country, several arguments concerning landscape sustainability are applicable. The leading principles of sustainable landscaping are planning and design. The physical aspect of planning includes optimizing function by exploring various design options.6 Attributes of the design process more often than not stem from some form of planning. Much of the information I gather will be to document and summarize the thought process that goes into creating rural residential landscapes.
In one research project, Richard Westmacott entered several African-American communities in the rural south to survey perceptions of gardening, techniques and purpose. In introducing his research, Westmacott states: “As a place for mundane tasks, spiritual refreshment, and the expression of ideals, beliefs, and aesthetic values, the garden is a rewarding subject for interdisciplinary cultural studies.”9 He discovered the following roles of the yard and garden: subsistence, kitchen extension, leisure and recreation, and ornament and display. These roles will serve as a basis for evaluation of functional spaces in Tonga. Another documented discovery was the distinct purpose of the property’s entrance versus the backyard. A major determinant of function in the landscape was location on the property in relation to the house. Each property was divided into the following zones: approach from the road, location of shaded areas, location of the well, and location of other structures. Such zones will help focus the observations of the landscape if applicable to Tongan plots.
The benefit of this project is that landscapes occur naturally throughout the world and are an integral part of every culture. Landscape expectations and aesthetics may overlap universally, yet interactions and function vary depending on culture and available space. The issue of land availability on various islands increases the need for an understanding of function. The result of this study will be an analysis of Tongan landscape function as determined by design diagrams, physical mapping, and informal interviews. Any conclusions reached will be largely for my own educational benefit and to formulate potential solutions, than to solve any of these large issues during the field study.
1. Baudez, Claude-Francois. Les Cultures a L’oeuver: Recontres en Art. Paris: Biro Editeur,
2. Daly, Martin. Tonga: A New Bibliography. Manoa: University of Hawai’i Press, 2009.
3. Hobbs, R. 1997. Landscapes and the future of landscape ecology. Landscape and Urban
4. Landscape Architecture in Developing Countries: International Professors. 2009. 18 Feb.
5. Latu, Josephine. “Agriculture Still Tonga’s Last Hope”. Taimi. 20 Oct. 2010.
6. Leitão, A. and J. Ahern. 2002. Applying Landscape ecological concepts and metrics in
sustainable landscape planning. Landscape and Urban Planning 59, 65-93.
7. Levinthal, D. and M. Warglien. 1999. Landscape Design: Designing for Local Action in
Complex Worlds. Organizational Science 10:3, 342-357.
8. Santos-Delgado, Rowena. “Adopting Organized Self-Help Housing Approach in Low-Cost
Housing in Darao City Philippines.” Muhon. 2009 Iss. 3: Pages 59-69.
9. Westmacott, Richard. African-American Gardens and Yards: In the Rural South. Knoxville:
University of Tennessee Press, 1992.
Entry into the Community:
I intend to learn many of the cultural norms from my host family during my stay. An understanding of these will serve as valuable tools to successfully enter the Tongan community. Apart from my host family I also anticipate members of the Church may be willing to provide information pertaining to my project. Both of the abovementioned groups can also introduce me to others in the community who might be willing to help. Also I intend to participate in activities such as working in the bush or in community farm plots. Doing this will provide a platform to meet others and demonstrate a genuine interest in the topic of landscape. I also hope to volunteer at the botanical garden located in Vava’u, which could be a valuable resource on local ornamental vegetation as well as local design of plantings.
Description of Informants:
The population of interest for this study will include individuals and families with a residential property in Vava’u Tonga. An even distribution of male and female informants will be achieved through convenience sampling. Participants of informal interviews will be over the age of 18 and a native of Tonga. Those excluded from the study are those with no yard and who are not able to communicate in English.
Participants will derive from third party, convenience, and snowball sampling. I anticipate the most success will be from interacting with the host family, neighbors, and friends who I will interact with the most. As this is an extremely low risk project, participants are not likely to be subjected to vulnerable situations.
Observation – First I intend to make observations of the community for several weeks, and possibly refine interview questions after developing a more thorough foundation. Upon reaching that point I hope to have entered the community, at least on a small scale, and will have developed friendships with neighbors and friends of the host family, who may become participants or could lead me to others. Also in observing, I hope to begin to see common aspects in each landscape such as vegetation and space.
Interviews – With each of the approximately 15-20 participants I intend to hold 2 informal interviews for no longer than 30 minutes each. The first will be a mapping session, where the subjects will draw the property boundaries and take a site inventory indicating shade, planting, and gathering areas. The second interview will be to further define the functions of these areas. Initial visits and conversations may include observations to develop a personal understanding of function and attitude toward surroundings beyond what will be expressed in interviews.
Sample Questions for Semi-Structured Interviews
1. Who takes care of the yard and why?
2. How often do you work in the yard to make it look better?
3. Why did you put that plant where it is?
4. Where do you get your plants?
5. How do you water them?
6. Where are the property lines?
7. Do you grow vegetables?
8. What was the yard like where you grew up?
9. What kind of effort did you put into the plantings?
10. What is your favorite thing about your yard/garden?
Data Processing: In order to visually document conversations, I intend to include a session of physical mapping as one of the 30 minute interviews. This will allow the participant to draw out the property, label specific functional spaces, and make note of likes as well as dislikes. Largely from these ‘maps’ I will compile common uses of the outdoor space and create a table indicating vegetation commonly found in the rural residential setting and potentially why it is commonly used. The written analysis will explore conclusions reached on cultural perceptions of aesthetics in the landscape and function as determined by space.
The largest anticipated barriers are language and research skills. My ability to effectively communicate in Tongan will limit the people I can talk to and possibly hinder entrance into the community. I hope to develop a better understanding of the language while there, but acknowledge that proficiency is unlikely with the time frame. I intend to learn basic phrases from members of my host family. My research skills are limited to a classroom setting. The field study preparation class taught several valuable skills for field study research. However opportunities to practice have been few and far between.
ETHICS AND APPROVAL
I will not be addressing a particularly sensitive topic, but I am aware that I am entering a new culture and need to address the differences I encounter with respect. I submitted my proposal to the IRB and received clearance to begin field study research on the date indicated in the application. Confidentiality will still be a priority to ensure information is available only to those involved in the study. All information gathered from interviews as well as other notes and drawings will be locked up in my suitcase when not physically in my possession. The information will be stored throughout the field study in that manner and will be kept for analysis of my field study research findings.
PRELIMINARY PLANS FOR POST-FIELD APPLICATION
Upon returning from the field study, I intend to prepare for submission to the Inquiry Conference and Inquiry Journal sponsored by the Kennedy Center. In addition to that, I recognize the potential to encourage other students within my major to participate in a field study. However, I personally recognize that this experience will have an impact on my approach to future designs. As much of the observations and research will be centered on function I will return with a greater understanding of practical landscape designs.
QUALIFICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
I am a senior seeking a degree in Landscape Management. The classes most applicable to the scope of this project include 3 landscape design classes. The classes cover the following topics: residential design and the planning process; another with graphics and appropriate portrayal of site analysis, function, and proper symbols; and finally a class exploring plant community designs for function of large scale projects emphasizing vegetation and other landscape materials. Apart from the classes within my major I am enrolled in the field study preparation course and Tongan cultural class.
QUALIFICATIONS OF PRIMARY FACULTY MENTOR
Greg Jolley – has MLA and years of experience as a landscape architect. He is the main professor for landscape design within the landscape management major. He teaches residential landscape design, landscape graphics, landscape structures, bidding and estimating, as well as plant community design. He has been teaching at BYU for over a decade and has mentored another field study student.
JUSTIFICATION OF IN-FIELD COURSEWORK AND FACULTY
6.0 credits – PWS 494R: Mentored Learning with Greg Jolley.
3.0 credits – Soc 340: Sociology of International Development
1.0 credit – IAS 201R: Cultural Survey class
Arrival in Tonga – begin observations, integration into the culture, and determining potential residential plots of interest, contact the botanical gardens for volunteer possibilities, work in the bush, study vegetation
Analysis of current observations, revise interview questions, select potential informants, check-in with Professors
Hold initial informal interviews with 12-15 people (physical mapping/site inventory), record observations after each interview
Check-in with Professors, sketch/draw functional diagrams as determined by first round of interviews
Second interview with each informant better understand how each area is used, why plants are included, determine how areas differ (develop specific questions regarding this)
Layout of typical Tongan landscape determined and sketched, begin drawing of master plan
Review all data and determine if there are any new questions or anything unresolved
Return to Utah
Course work due for primary mentor
Rough draft complete of project paper, get edited and rework
Final paper submitted
As of now, this project is paid for largely by money saved over several years. I have not received scholarships or grants as of yet, however I am waiting to see the amount I qualify for with FAFSA and if I am eligible for a Kennedy Center scholarship. Below is a list of anticipated expenses.
- Airfare ~ $2000
- Tuition ~ $2000 (sp/su)
- Materials and supplies ~$100 (book of vellum paper 8 ½ x 11; 11 x 17, markers, sharpies, and pens/pencils, architectural rulers, tape measure)
- Money for rent and food
Appendix A – IRB Acceptance
Project Proposal: Rough Draft - 18 Feb. 2011
Tongan Perceptions of Rural Landscape Development
A Field Study Proposal
Statement of Intent
- The purpose of this research project is to explore residential landscape practices in Vava’u, Tonga. This project is also aimed at gaining an understanding of what role landscape architecture and design might play in a third world setting. Little research has been conducted about how landscape design could be applied in developing countries to fit the wants of the people.
- See if ‘curb appeal’ exists to some extent
- “Developing countries are in need of good landscape architecture for their short and long term developments. They are in a great position to learn from examples of developed countries, and should be able to create a better environment that can thrive for a long time. By analyzing, discussing, and thinking collectively, the discussion group may be able to think of good solutions to save, enhance, and add more to their valuable environmental assets. For example, creating an urban farm in an empty neighborhood plot could help not only to produce more food for the community, but also could reduce waste by composting. Rain water could be collected to irrigate plants, which could help to reduce storm water runoff. Grey water could be recycled for irrigation as well to reduce pressure in use of drinking water. Being able to produce food closer to the residential neighborhood could reduce energy use for transporting goods. It could also act as an open space where people can gather for recreational purposes, and strengthening ties within community members could help to reduce crime rates. It is a good place to teach children about the importance of understanding natural systems. Landscape architecture can link so many different aspects of creating a better place. Sharing ideas is now very easy thanks to the technology, so let’s use it to produce not only innovative solutions but also to bring back site specific traditions of living with nature that are about to be forgotten.” (Quote from Landscape Architects in Developing Countries – International Professors) Use aspects of this quote, which helps define some more specific LA topics beyond design and more function.
- Set aside preconceived notions of landscape design and observe/develop a Tongan landscape design, learning the Tongan way and not putting my own thoughts and likes into a design
- Immersion into what is wanted and practical to maximize function and some aesthetics to the space
- Opportunity to experience life through another culture and see how my education might be applied internationally
- This program will help me in preparation for graduate school. I’m hoping to gain research skills, also interview skills that I’ll need when working with future clients to determine what they want in a landscape. Going to a different culture will set me in a completely knew environment where I’ll only get answers by observation and asking the right questions
- Academic intentions – scientific vs. non-scientific: less scientific and more an exploratory/creative approach. I still intend on writing a paper with my findings, but I hope to be able to create a portfolio project of designs and analyses I discover along the way.
Background and Significance/Literature Review
- Significance – In researching the topic of landscape design in Tonga over the past few weeks, there is little to no information on this particular subject. Among the major governmental concerns in Tonga are migration of large bodies of the population (within Tonga as well as to other countries) and stimulating the economy (find concrete sources). To some degree, both of these issues can be addressed by examining the benefits of landscape management, planning, and design.
o Migration – modify standard of living (find the study again that discusses the positive influence of plants); evaluate use of public space, and if that might
o Economy – increase jobs in the market, which can be divided out to different islands (newspaper article from Learning journal 13)
- Little research has been done in Polynesia pertaining to landscape design and ornamental plantings. I did find a journal out of the Philippines about landscape architecture and development that focuses on public spaces and the benefit of that type of development in third world countries. Also some research has been done to document native plants and their uses.
- The gap is that I haven’t found a platform of research for landscape development/design in Polynesia. That’s good because it gives me the opportunity to delve into observation and research of the Tongan view of plants as a part of a composition. This leads me to look on a more global level, searching for practices that could be applied to Tonga.
- Location info: The field study program to Tonga is relatively new. There is little done in Tonga on any topic of research
o Find out about plantations on Vava’u, main crops grown there, how many people work in agriculture
o Living conditions – emphasis on the home and immediately surrounding area
- Topic info: Design
- Entering the community: going out with host family to work in the bush, show interest in plants and learning from the people, observe how outside areas around the home are used and ask questions
- Description of what group I’m interested in: those who have homes or own some amount of land, possibly public lands and any landscape maintenance workers.
- Description of sampling and recruitment
- Description of method
o Mapping: individual and participatory mapping. Start out making general observations in various ‘neighborhoods’
o Interview: Questions and Observations (variations of what you might ask a client)
§ What plants do you like having around your home? (Aesthetics)
§ How much time do you spend in the area around your home? (Use/Function)
§ Do you eat and cook outside?
§ What kind of activities usually go on in that area? (Use/Function)
§ Where do you get plants from? (Propagation methods)
§ How much effort do you put into planting and maintenance now? (Time)
§ Do you like gardening?
§ Family member ages
§ Animals on site
§ Family wants and wishes
§ Clarification on words such as normal, unique, simple
o Creative: this would begin after developing an understanding of landscape layouts and function in Tongan society
§ Outdoor rooms (Residential Landscape Architecture textbook 25-59)
§ Environmentally Responsive Designs (Residential Landscape Architecture textbook 60-91)
§ Functional Diagrams (Residential Landscape Architecture textbook 182-210)
§ Artistic creative column (check it out)
Ethics and Approval
- I might need approval for interviewing, but from what I understand about IRB protocol, my project has little that would be unethical
Preliminary Plans for Post-Field Application
Qualifications and Limitations
- Undergraduate student with limited practical experience in design and project assessment. I am a senior with a good grasp on landscape management, but lack research skills as that has not been a focus of my research project.
Qualifications of Primary Faculty Mentor
- Greg Jolley – has MLA and years of experience, but not sure what he’s done internationally. He is the main professor for landscape architecture and design. I took residential landscape design, landscape graphics, landscape structure, bidding and estimating, and plant community design from him. He is the expert in my college for LA and has the best understanding.
Justification of In-Field Coursework and Faculty
- Federal Grant, scholarship, tax return
- Travel (airfare ~$1500)
- Materials and supplies (book of vellum paper 8 ½ x 11 and larger size, markers, sharpies, and pens/pencils, architectural rulers, tape measure) (~$100)
- Money for rent (no idea how much that will be)
Participant Observation Methods #2 - 11 Feb. 2011
During our cultural preparation class on Wednesday, our teacher Sione invited us to go participate in the South Provo Tongan Ward activity. It was mutual night and one of the young men was finishing up his eagle project. The event started about 5:00 pm, about an hour before our class got out. We received a warm welcome by a group of 5-6 men and boys as they thanked us for coming and told us we should go inside out of the cold. They were gathered around the truck just outside the church foyer. In the bed of the truck was a large 4’x4’ plywood box filled with children’s books and other supplies being sent to Liahona High School in Nukualofa, Tonga.
Once inside we were introduced to a woman from Vava’u, who ecstatically explained why her island was the best in Tonga. Others seemed to agree, and there was a definite sense of cultural pride. Other members of the ward were gathered around in different rooms of the church, with most in the gym where the food was and a half-court basketball game was going on. There were lots of children running around, largely allowed to do as they pleased. We went back outside for a picture in front of the box, because they wanted to show that white people were involved, even though we had very little to do with the project.
The initial entrance was a little awkward even with Sione introducing us to a few of the members of his previous ward. I say awkward because once in the gym parents told the kids (ranging in age from eight to twelve) to set up a new table and chairs, separate from everyone else. It reminded me of what was discussed in class about how as an outsider of an event the people tend to put you on a pedestal, thinking doing that will make you more comfortable.
Each of the five of us received a plate of food. On the plate was chicken curry with rice. On the table there were plates of keke, which is fried bread in the shape of a ball. We had hot chocolate to drink. We sat down on the tables where other people were sitting already. Some children were still sitting in the majority of the spaces, but there were a few women at the end of one of the tables. I sat with them and talked about food and Tonga in general. They were eager to talk about their experiences in Tonga, and felt the need to warn us of pick-pockets and the expensive cost of living.
It seemed that for the most part, all the women gathered in the cultural hall around the kitchen and tables, while the men largely remained in the foyer or around the perimeters of the room. Men and children played a game of basketball. Several of the kids taught us some random Tongan phrases, which they found more amusing to hear us say than anything else.
This method seemed more of a challenge to write down worthwhile information. Without taking notes, it was a bit of a challenge to try and make observations while still acting normal. Maybe it was in part the event and the fact that by the time we arrived things were winding down. Maybe it was also a challenge to write about because it was not that different than what I would experience at a church gathering. It’s hard to see the object behind why things are done when its expected to be done that way.
Interview Methods #1 - 4 Feb. 2011
I employed the probing interview methods for this first assignment. The six probes are:
Silent Tell me more
Echo Long question
Uh-Huh Probing by leading
I interviewed two individuals to obtain a better understanding of the use of probing and to determine how a neighborhood culture might affect residential landscapes. Both lived in a suburban setting, developed in different decades. One residence was in Salt Lake, while the other one was in Utah County. In each interview the interviewee was excited to recreate a drawing of their yard and explain the layout, regardless of the effort to which they or their family set aside for curb appeal.
The individual living in Salt Lake County came from a neighborhood where each plot was about 1/3 acre in size. Judging by the scope of landscaping it was a upper middle class neighborhood where most people took pride in the upkeep of their yards. He alluded that there was quite a bit of neighborhood pressure, or expectation, to maintain a level of curb appeal. Minimal weeds and green grass were mentioned as specifics to having an attractive yard. There was no mention of the importance of color. The majority of the landscaped areas in the drawing were in the front yard, including several hardscape materials such as pavers for a sitting area, rocks as a retaining wall for a flower bed, and the concrete pathway leading to the entrance. He expressed that while growing up the front yard didn’t have as much practical use because the grass area was limited. One he began talking I took the uh-huh approach, which helped him continue talking. I also asked long probing questions to show sincerity in wanting to understand more and that seemed to work quite well.
The second individual living in Utah County lived in a neighborhood with slightly larger plots likely somewhere around ½ acre. The importance of curb appeal was drastically different in this neighborhood. According to the interviewee, most people planted a few large trees and then shrubs as foundation plantings, keeping yard work to a minimum. Homeowners felt it was important to maintain their yards in this neighborhood, but not much more than irrigation, mowing and an occasional fertilizer application on the turf. A key phrase where the interviewee referred to an area of the yard as “just dirt” was explained to mean that empty space in a yard is undesirable. ‘Just dirt’ areas are considered a waste if not used for either a vegetable or ornamental garden. Also there was great importance in open grass play areas for gatherings and games.
In summary, neighborhood dynamics seem to be a driving force for the prevalence of a landscaped yard. A landscaped yard in this setting refers to a concern for curb appeal and not being the eye sore of the block.
Literature Review Worksheet (Part 1, before class)
Please answer each question according to your understanding of the academic discussion/literature surrounding your research topic. Answers likely will not be definitive and may include some speculation (which you should indicate as such). Be honest about what you do not presently know and where you can improve (you will be evaluated on your thoughtful completion of the assignment, not on whether or not you know all the answers).
- What are the key concepts you’ve dissected within your own question? List related search terms.
Landscape development in Tonga, cultural use of plants, aesthetic value of plants, how are public spaces used, methods of research
- What additional key terms and concepts have you discovered in the literature?
Migration (within Tonga as well as other countries), crop management, vegetation succession,
- What discipline or disciplines are your sources based within?
Some from peer reviewed journals, some text books, some are analyses by landscape architects of gardens around the world. I probably need more journals to give sound research for the proposal, but I’m still finding there is little research on LA in Polynesia.
- What are some of the concepts that your sources generally agree on (underlying assumptions)?
Little research has been done in Polynesia pertaining to landscape design and ornamental plantings. I did find a journal out of the Philippines about landscape architecture and development that focuses on public spaces and the benefit of that type of development in third world countries. Also some research has been done to document native plants and their uses.
- Are there particular scholars or sources that seem to be referenced frequently in what you’ve read so far?
Lots of text books when I’ve looked at Google scholar, as well of University of Hawaii. I haven’t seen a trend in a specific author or specialist on third world landscape development.
- What need is there for further research in the academic discussion? In other words, where are the gaps?
The gap is that I haven’t found a foundation of research for landscape development/design in Polynesia. That’s good because it gives me the opportunity to delve into observation and research of the Tongan view of plants as a part of a composition.
25 Questions Assignment
1. How is vegetation viewed in Tonga?
2. What possibility is there in doing a landscape project?
3. What planting zone is Tonga in and what plants grow naturally there?
4. What plants are commonly used?
5. How developed is the botanical garden on Va'vau?
6. What information do they have that could help guide me in the right path?
7. Where are the owners from?
8. Would Tongans be interested in square foot gardening?
9. How much interest is there in growing a personal garden, close to home?
10. What information is even available on landscape development in Tonga?
11. Does the government have an equivalent to the BLM or parks and rec?
12. Are there nurseries in Tonga?
13. What is considered common knowledge when it comes to plants?
14. How do people get around the island? Bus? Walk?
15. What things prevent people from developing a simple landscape?
16. How could I get in contact with Haniteli Fa’anunu, director of the botanical gardens?
17. How could his position as Director of Agriculture and Food provide valuable insight?
18. What research has been done on Tongan flora? Any publications? Reliable websites?
19. Which professor in my major would be a good fit as a mentor?
20. Can I incorporate landscape drawings, designs and graphics into my project?
21. Where can I get access to the internet there?
22. What organizations there could help me better understand cultural relations with plants?
23. What classes would work best for the credits I need to take for sp/su?
24. How much does is rain?
25. How varied is the weather from month to month?