Hi, I am a Senior doing an independent study project this semester entitled "The Evolution of American Parks." It is an interdisciplinary look at the evolution of green spaces in American history, focusing on architectural design, cultural meaning, influences, etc. The course follows a largely historical time line, starting with early views on the environment; cemetery design; the works of Downing, Olmsted, L'Enfant, Vaux; national parks, riverfronts, greenways, and ends with a brief look at landscape urbanism and suburbia.
As part of the final grade, I need to do a research project that is relevant to the topic of the course. Since the independent study is under the auspices of the American Studies Dept., the content needs to focus on some aspect of American landscape history, urban planning, natural history, parks, etc. The format is totally open; however, there must be some writing component to the project, although it need not be a full blown 20 page paper.
I was wondering if anyone could offer suggestions on possible topics? I prefer not doing solely a large research paper; it would be nice if I could incorporate some creative aspect. I am really lost on trying to think of topics. I wanted to do something involving a current project in my area, but given the state of the economy and the fact that I am located in Central Ohio, I haven't been able to find any current projects that fit the topic. Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated!