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Mississippi Floods

Designing a Shifting Landscape

Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha

View Inside Price: $55.00


May 11, 2001
176 pages, 9 x 10
180 b/w + 104 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300084306
Cloth

Out of Print

Each time the waters of the mighty Mississippi River overflow their banks, questions arise anew about the battle between “man” and “river.” How can we prevent floods and the damage they inflict while maintaining navigational potential and protecting the river’s ecology?
The design of the Mississippi and how it should proceed has long been a subject of controversy. What is missing from the discussion, say the authors of this extraordinary book, is an understanding of the representations of the Mississippi River. Landscape architect Anuradha Mathur and architect/planner Dilip da Cunha draw together an array of perspectives on the river and show how these different images have played a role in the process of designing and containing the river landscape. Analyzing maps, hydrographs, working models, drawings, photographs, government and media reports, paintings, and even folklore, Mathur and da Cunha consider what these representations of the river portray, what they leave out, and why that might be. With gorgeous original silk screen prints and a fine selection of maps, the book joins historic, scientific, engineering, and natural views of the river to create an entirely new portrait of the great Mississippi.

Anuradha Mathur is assistant professor in the department of landscape architecture and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania. Dilip da Cunha is lecturer at the Graduate School of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania, and the department of architecture, Parsons School of Design. They are principals of Mathur/da Cunha: Architecture, Landscape Architecture & Planning.

“[This] beautifully designed and printed book . . . provides new portraits of the lower Mississippi that confront the reader in significantly different ways than do customary books on flood hazard mitigation. The photos, the original artwork, the format of the foldout pages, and the book’s organization argue that if we are to understand the lower Mississippi we have to re-envision the river in a more organic way. . . . Anyone who works on Mississippi River issues should recognize that this book clearly, patiently, and artistically points out how current scientific and engineering strategies are doomed to repeat the failures of the past. Mathur and da Cunha have created new poetry of the river for wide reflection and consideration by many professionals.”—Eve Gruntfest, Ethics, Place and Environment


“This book challenges us to look at the Mississippi in a fresh way. Mathur and da Cunha bring together diverse perspectives on the river and create a masterful work of art in the process.”—Steven Hoelscher, University of Texas at Austin

“A verbally and visually layered symphonic poem to the unimaginable force the river embodies both geographically and in our hearts.”—Fredric Koeppel, Commercial Appeal

“In this beautiful working document, [the authors] seek common ground among the conflicting interests of flood control, navigation, ecology, and environmental protection. . . . The gorgeous prints, drawings, paintings, and collages make this a book to treasure.”—Margaret Aycock, Library Journal

“In this timely book, landscape architect Mathur and architect-planner da Cunha use maps, cross sections, hydrographs, working models, drawings, photographs, reports, paintings, and folklore to remind us that the Mississippi river, particularly in the alluvial valley, is a landscape that shifts. They argue that understanding this process is essential to achieving balance between our need to contain and control the river and to protect its ecology.”—Metropolis

“Mathur and da Cunha’s beautifully produced book introduces the human and natural history of the Mississippi River. Richly illustrated with full color images throughout, the book travels through the various environments of the River in five chapters.”—Choice

“Mathur and da Cunha use the meanders, flows and basins of the Mississippi to tell America’s history with the river. . . . Alongside this narrative, in the margins and on foldout pages, are silk-screen prints, traditional media artwork, photographs and antique maps, all of which not only instruct but mesmerize the reader with their undeniable beauty.”—American Scientist

“Mathur and da Cunha draw together an array of perspectives on the river and show how these different images have played a role in the process of designing and containing the river landscape. Analyzing maps, hydrographs, working models, drawings, photographs, government and media reports, paintings, and even folklore, Mathur and da Cunha consider what these representations of the river portray, what they leave out, and why.”—Natural Hazards Observer

“An unconventional approach to presenting the great Mississippi River. Text provides information in formats from poetic to purely scientific. . . . Interesting information concerning nearly every facet of the Mississippi River is liberally interspersed throughout. Authors close with an ethereal perspective on the river that will leave readers pondering our past, present, and particularly, our future relationship with the ‘Big Muddy’.”—Southeastern Naturalist

“Very informative and well structured. . . . The authors have assembled a work of art by using beautiful silk screen prints and photographs. On the other hand, the book combines scientific, engineering, historical and natural views of the river in order to present a new perspective of the mighty Mississippi that may help in resolving some of the conflict between human impacts and natural events.”—R.R. Yates, International Journal of Environmental Studies