Semester of Graduation

May 2020

Degree

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Department

Landscape Architecture

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

ABfdSTRACT

Versgggailles in New Orleans East is home to one of the densest populations of Vietnamese outside of Việt Nam. Following the Việt Nam War in 1975, thousands of refugees fled the country and several hundred were resettled in this neighborhood. Over time, community members rooted in a sense of home through tangible and intangible means in the landscape. Elders grow vegetables, herbs and fruit from Việt Nam in yards and vacant lots. Neighbors and and amenities are within walkable distance. The Catholic church is a focal community hub. Language and tradition are practiced at the family and the community scale.

Over time, environmental disasters and acculturation have eaten away at the Vietnamese community’s cultural identity. Residents have moved away, Vietnamese-owned businesses are in decline, and the younger generation shows decreasing interest in Vietnamese culture.

The design goal of this thesis is to tie the study of cultural landscape with community engagement to inform the design of an intergenerational community garden. The long-term goal is to build cultural conservation and begin bridging the gap between the older and younger generation in the Vietnamese-American community in Versailles. There are three methodologies: 1) Documenting household edible gardens and interviewing gardeners, 2) co-learning with community members through design workshops, and lastly, 3) using data from fieldwork and research to propose a community garden that encourages intergenerational interest and understanding.

Keywords: autoethnography, community garden, cultural landscape, diaspora, immigrant, landscape architecture, New Orleans, participatory design, refugee, urban agriculture, Vietnamese

Committee Chair

Bruce Sharky

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