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vertical theme

  The teasing out and tracing through of a distinctive process operating in a society and (particularly) its landscape over time. The establishment of \'vertical themes\' is characteristic of studies of landscape change in classical historical geography (see morphogenesis; cf. cross-section). Within that tradition, the model is usually taken to be H.C. Darby\'s (1951) account of the changing English landscape, which identified six \'vertical themes\': clearing the wood, draining the marsh, reclaiming the heath, the changing arable, the landscape garden, and urban-industrial growth. These themes are described in conventional narrative form and often summarized as a progressive sequence of thematic maps. Darby reaffirmed his belief in such a procedure as an attempt to deal with the problem of combining historical and geographical description some ten years later (Darby, 1962), and the schema has been adopted by a number of his students and others (see, e.g. Williams, 1974). (DG)

References Darby, H.C. 1951: The changing English landscape. Geographical Journal 117: 377-98. Darby, H.C. 1962: The problem of geographical description. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers 30: 1-14. Williams, M. 1974: The making of the South Australian landscape: a study in the historical geography of Australia. London and New York: Academic Press.



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