Toronto Metropolitan University
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Before and after Nature: Temporality and Landscape in Toronto’s Early Urban Greenspace

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posted on 2024-02-07, 20:18 authored by Samuel Shaftoe

In this thesis, I explore the ways cultural constructions of nature and its temporal valences are represented and employed in the design, use, and development of urban greenspace. This arises from a broader interest in the ways the nature/society distinction has been produced alongside the environment-making, world-ecological process of capital accumulation. Parks, as nature in the city, foreground tensions between nature and society. They are developed, maintained, and designed with specific representations of nature in mind. In this sense, they can act as an index for shifting images of nature, or what Jason W. Moore would call historical natures. I have chosen to focus on the emergence of parks in Toronto during the 19th century using Allan Gardens as my primary case study. I approach it as landscape to pay particular attention to how images of nature constructed, employed, and practiced in the development and use of the site. Allan Gardens proves to be an interesting case study in the history of urban greenspace due to its relation to the global flows of science, power, and capital inculcated in botanical gardens, as well as its relation to settler-colonial commemorative exercises that utilize the temporal valences of nature to place indigenous peoples in a pre-history of Toronto’s development.

History

Language

English

Degree

  • Master of Arts

Program

  • Communication and Culture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis

Thesis Advisor

Dr. David Cecchetto

Year

2021

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    Communication and Culture (Theses)

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