In The Environment and the People in American Cities (2009), I argue that landscape is a socially constructed entity that is an important element of nation building. It is not simply an object to be viewed, depicted, cultivated, or manipulated, but as W. J. Thomas Mitchell (2002) contends, it is an instrument of cultural force central to the creation of national and social identities. The American Heritage Dictionary (2009) defines “landscape” as an expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view. “Landscape” is also commonly defined as a depiction of scenery in a picture or painting, or as a branch of art. The term, first recorded in 1598, arose from the Dutch word “landschap,” meaning “region, tract of land.” It took on artistic overtones in English usage, where it came to mean “a picture depicting scenery on land.”

However, civilizations of the Near East began …

This essay may be found on page 145 of the printed volume.

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