Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Richard L. J. Ratcliffe, 1978

Images of the Place Between: A Study of a Rural Landscape, Wallace, Nova Scotia


Human settlement takes many forms in various types of landscapes. This paper examines one such form, a 'place' in a rural landscape. It attempts to underline the importance of a nucleated 'place' in a lightly populated region. By tracing the historical evolution of a place, the paper brings its reader to the present landscape. In doing so the image of wilderness transforms to an image of incipient settlement to an image of a village and finally with decline a hamlet. Then the present landscape is studied in detail highlighting the features of nucleation. This analysis provides a base for comparison between a geographic interpretation of a place and the perceptions of that same landscape. In this case, perceptions are acquired from perceptual maps drawn by the people who live in the region. The mental map is used in this study as a tool to discover what elements of a rural region people include in their maps. It argues that as the elements included in the mental maps accentuate nucleated settlement at the expense of the area beyond nucleation, nucleated settlement is important in a rural region. Although this paper is not a study of the processes involved in perceptual mappiry, it does attempt to compensate for the lack of geographic work conduced in perceptual studies of rural space.