Seeing systems and the beholding eye : computer-aided visions of the postwar British landscape
Author(s)Carlsson, Moa Karolina.
Computer-aided visions of the postwar British landscape
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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In the decades after World War II-a period that saw the accelerated transformation of Britain's countryside into a modem industrial landscape-the visual appearance of the country was placed at the center of debates about identity, progress, and heritage. Among a vocal and interested public, the proliferating power stations, power transmission lines, open-pit mines, dams, motorways, and oil-related facilities were often felt as threats to the national past, to cultural values, and to the very idea of what it meant to be British. Amidst this political complexity, the computer-generated diagram, with its underlying mathematical structure, may seem an unlikely vehicle for settling planning disputes about Britain's countryside. My study reveals how landscape practitioners, hired by industrial developers, began to exploit the general characteristics of mainframe computers (speed, accuracy, replicability, and economy) to define new ways of representing and measuring visual phenomena, and of comparing alternative visions of the country, using quantitative "facts." The result was a digital technology-seeing systems-that enumerated and quantified rather than depicted visual landscape, a new technology that profoundly transformed not only visualization and representation practices, but that also ensured continued industrial expansion.
Thesis: Ph. D. in Architecture: Design and Computation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. "The pagination in this thesis reflects how it was delivered to the Institute Archives and Special Collections. Figure images not found in original thesis"--Disclaimer Notice page.Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-287).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology