Field Assignment 1 Part 1

Assignment 1 Part 1: Edges, Culture and Territory in Boulder, CO


  1. Lewis - Axioms for Reading the Landscape link to article



You have two goals in this assignment: 1) Find the edge of Boulder and 2) Note any cultural differences you observe between the landscapes of “core” and “edge” dwellers.

During class on January 25th (or another time of your group’s choice) your job is to drive and walk up Sunshine Canyon. Starting Downtown you will head up Mapleton Street to Sunshine Canyon, you’ll keep going until you hit the “edge” of Boulder. Since you may never really hit the edge (spolier alert), there is a spot where you can get out and walk to get a good view west.

How do you identify the edge of Boulder? There is lots of room for interpretation here and the definition of when you are “in” or “out” of town is open to debate - I want your informed opinion. An informed opinion is one that is rooted is careful observation of the landscape. Look for infrastructure, settlement patterns, traffic, signs… Read the landscape.

  • As you make your way from town up the canyon I’d like you to look carefully at houses. How do they interact with the street and the sidewalk - for example, is there a path to the front door? A gated driveway? Do the houses have fences, decorations, signs to welcome and/or deter strangers? How far away from the street are the houses?
    1. Identify three different types of houses that you saw. Types can be defined by a single or multiple characteristics. Types of houses shouldn’t be a single instance, that is, there should be multiple houses that you felt fit into the category.I don’t you to focus on architecture, focus on finding types of houses that reveal cultural/social patterns in the city.
      • For each type of house create one or more slides in google slides. Slides should be a mix of images and text. That is, must show a picture with an example of the type of house and text explaining the type. A typical slide might include three or four bullet points and/or labels explaining the key characteristics of the type and how the house exemplifies the type. The slides can be as creative or as simple as you like, as long as they show and explain types of houses.
  • What do the types of house tell you about the types of people who inhabit them? That is, what clues to residents’ values are present on the landscape? Based on what you can observe can you estimate the residents’ economic situation, their political affiliations?
    1. For two types of houses create slides describing the characteristics of the residents. Use images and text to support your description of the types of person. Clearly link the type of person to elements of the landscape.
  • Take two pictures of the landscape that are definitely “in” and “out” of Boulder. These should be single slides with the caption:
    1. “You Know You Are in Boulder When __
    2. “You Know You Have Left Boulder When __
  • Take a picture of a place where you see a “remnant” of a past landscape. Do you think this is an authentic remnant or just decoration? Any evidence to support your thinking? Ideally your picture will show both the “remnant” old element of the landscape and the “modern” use in a single image.

The exact route you are supposed to follow along with some prompts, or places to get out (or stop) and look around:

Final Deliverable

The final deliverable for part 1 will be a google slide deck with at least 10 slides and no more than 15 slides. You must include a title with your group name and members, the title slide doesn’t count toward your total. At a minimum you should include:

  • one slide for each type of house (3 slides total)
  • one slide for resident profile (2 slides)
  • “You know you are In/Out of Boulder When Slides…” (2 total)
  • A remnant landscape (1 slide) Remember, the slides should include both pictures and explanatory text – keep in mind that we will be grading the assignments without you present to explain, so they must be sufficiently detailed and clear to speak for themselves (this goes for all three parts of the assignment).