Boundaries and Edges

Boundaries and edges seem like the same thing. A boundary, in a simple definition, is a border. The same definition can be used for edges. However, if you look them in a broader context, they can also have very different meanings. A boundary usually is a soft, moveable border. Every state has a boundary in which it governs, but if a state was to lose a portion to or gain a portion of another neighboring state, the boundary would correct itself to the changes. The same could be said for countries. Continents, on the other hand, have distinct edges. Edges are harsh, sharp divisions between two objects. A cliff is another example of this. The edge is the boundary between the altitude one is at the rim to the altitude below. In keeping with the lecture and discussion (at least my discussion), I will bring in examples dealing with nature. An edge would be the certain height on a mountain where trees can no longer grow due to the altitude and temperature (called the treeline). A boundary would the border between a fire ravaged part of a forest and the part that remained unscorched from forest fire. Through the blowing of the wind and the regeneration of the earth, the plants will regrow in that area. However, no matter how much wind, no trees will grow past the treeline.

Edges have a harder time making connections with the other side. If we look at a road as an edge, there is hardly any corridor or pathway that could connect both sides of the road if it is maintained and repaved. Boundaries don’t have such a harsh disconnection between it and the next community.

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3 Responses to Boundaries and Edges

  1. I found your insight regarding edge conditions in the vertical direction (in your example of the treeline) to be enlightening. It expands on the “Landscape Ecology Principles in Landscape Architecture and Land-Use Planning” text by switching up the typical plan/aerial view of landscape arrangement to also observe sectional qualities, which in many cases, could be just as interesting as lateral movement.

    Take for instance, biodiversity in ecosystems in section – movement up and down in the patch. How do resources that appeal to the animals and plants that help make up the ecosystem differ when looking at the patch in this way? How does the scope/scale of the inspected patch change things?

  2. D. Skipper says:

    I agree with everything you posted, but also think that edges and boundaries do not have to be so specifically defined and generallized. In many instances these boundaries can be 1. the change in materials as you walk through grounds (brick, stone) 2. the vegetation type of trees (deciduous vs conifer – whether or not it blocks the suns rays/ if people can see into the path behind) 3. pedestrian yields/bike paths on grounds — Therefore not specifically a division of a country, continent, altitude or anything to do with geography for that matter.


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