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Architecture and Geography

  • By: Peter Merriman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Geographers have had a long-standing interest in architecture, extending from early studies of the distribution and diffusion of folk-architectural styles in the 1930s to more recent analyses of the cultural and political symbolism, meanings, and uses of buildings and architectural environments.

Folk Architecture and the Vernacular Landscape

Architecture emerged as an important concern of scholars associated with the Berkeley School of cultural geography, most notably Fred Kniffen, in his studies of the distribution and diffusion of folk housing types from the 1930s to the 1960s. Kniffen approached folk houses as important cultural artifacts that could reveal a great deal about settlement and migration patterns in the United States, and he mapped the geographies of particular categories of house and barn in an attempt to identify regional differences ...

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