Semester of Graduation
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
My thesis explores how landscape design can improve its methods of reclaiming lost cultural stories in the urban landscape, using the example of the Filipino American neighborhood known as Little Manila in Stockton, California. Through interpreting both stories and narratives that surround the neighborhood, I propose a basis for landscape design inspiration that focuses on oral history and lived experience. Using this understanding I propose to design a landscape within in the Little Manila Historic Site that celebrates the community’s history while providing public space for continued community use.
My work focuses on the area of Downtown Stockton that earned the name “Little Manila” in the early twentieth century. By the 1920s, the enclave was known as the largest Filipino population outside of the Philippines. Violence and racist policies from police, farmers, governmental institutions, and external communities drove the creation of a Filipino-American identity, despite many immigrants arriving from different ethnic groups within the country. Little Manila was primarily active beginning in the 1920s when many Filipino immigrants arrived in the Delta seeking educational opportunities and jobs. A need for services, restaurants, and recreation drove the self-creation of a distinctive neighborhood through the mid-twentieth century, up until 1970 when the construction of the California 4 (CA-4) highway demolished the vibrant neighborhood. Beyond its everyday importance to the Filipino community, Stockton became the setting for significant labor movements including many agricultural strikes that united different communities of workers. This thesis asserts that the act of storytelling evokes key memories surrounding the everyday and eventful happenings within the Little Manila cultural neighborhood. As few physical remnants of the enclave remain, this thesis asserts that the collection and use of stories to inspire landscape design is a powerful methodology that reinvigorates a social connection to space, as well as a sense of place.
Gill, Alyssa M., "Storytelling as Design Methodology: Reclaiming Little Manila's Urban Landscape Identity" (2022). LSU Master's Theses. 5559.