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Landscape is an extremely important natural phenomenon because it determines natural processes and human activities in many different parts of the planet (Nijhuis, Ron and Frank). This study attempts to define visual landscape before providing an analytical journey between Miami, Florida and North Bay, Ontario, Canada. The relationship between landscape and viewers' sensory experiences is explored in visual landscape, also known as physiognomic landscape (Nijhuis, Ron and Frank). As a result, visual landscape can be described as observable elements of all landscape appearances and their morphology (De Veer & Burrough). In a nutshell, visual landscape refers to visuals or photos of physical geographical land features and human activities as seen by a large number of viewers. Major types of physical landforms which make landscape include mountains, valleys, hills, plains, deserts and plateaus. Human land use activities such as forestry, farming, human settlements, artificial water bodies and different types of infrastructure form human landscape. The quality of visual landscape is dependent on factors such as degree of openness, angle of inclination and many others (Nijhuis, Ron and Frank).
Aspects of visual landscape create an understanding of how landforms and human elements influence natural processes and human interactions with environment. Existence of certain landscapes within a particular region reveals the type of natural processes or human activities within that locality. For instance, presence of volcanic mountains in a particular region implies that the region is prone to natural volcanic eruption processes. In addition volcanic mountains are associated with rich volcanic soils which are good for agricultural production. Main natural processes include erosion, weathering, glaciation, mass wasting, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods. In fact, landscape has a great influence on climate, weather, ecosystem and life in general.
The travelogue starts in Miami which is a sea port city located at southeastern region of Florida State in United States. The cool air that is a resultant of tropical monsoon climate makes Miami an ideal and wonderful city to live in. The cool air covers major parts of the city. The warm sea breezes flowing from Atlantic Ocean to Miami landscape raise the temperatures of the city to moderate levels. The combination of cold air and warm sea breezes creates cold warm weather that is conducive for human living. In most parts of Miami city the temperatures averaged 25 degree centigrade. The conducive and favorable warm temperatures in Miami usually act as major tourist attraction factor more also during winter. At certain areas tiny water droplets remained suspended in the air but this never obscured the visibility level. In other regions of the city dew was evident in various objects covering the city.
Miami city has some of most fascinating and attractive landscapes in the world. The landscape ranges from physical landforms to human made structures. One of most fascinating landforms in Miami city observed during the trip is the Miami Beach. Several people were evidently seen enjoying themselves within various points of the beach. This implies that the Beach offers a tourist attraction site with many tourists visiting it. Miami Beach is located at the far east of the city and offers protection for Biscayne Bay. Consequently, Biscayne Bay forms an important naturally protected harbor in Miami city (Davis, Steven M., et al). The harbor’s topography from aerial view was an attractive and fascinating feature to watch. In Coastal areas of the city are the beautiful sandy beaches which are sparsely covered with woodland vegetation. Sea tides form another attractive and important landform in Miami city. Sea tides and waves were evident in Atlantic Ocean where they were rising and falling consistently. Other iconic landforms covering Miami city are long ranges of rock ridges, coral reefs and long Pine. These rock ridges make southwestern areas of Miami city to have rugged terrain topography. The common rock ridge is Miami Rock Ridge which contains substantial amount of raw limestone (Harlem and Meeder 75).
The tall buildings and well established transport infrastructure creates interesting landscape in the entire city of Miami. Several museum buildings were evidently seen in various parts of Miami city, for instance, Miami Art Museum and Museum of Science and Space. In addition, the city hosts many parks and recreational facilities. Some of prominent National Parks in Miami include Biscayne and Haulover National Parks. The main recreational activities in Miami recreational facilities included swimming, boating, windsurfing, canoeing and waterskiing. Waterskiing was the most fascinating activity of all recreational activities. Bench terraces and other forms of water and soil conservation measures were evident throughout Miami landscape. Large tracts of farms characterized by vegetable, fruit and horticultural crops characterize farming systems in Miami city. Indeed, Miami horticultural production is ranked as largest in Florida and second largest in United States (Harlem and Meeder 55). Nevertheless, different types of domesticated animals such as cattle and goats could be seen grazing in various grounds.
Miami city is metropolitan urban center comprising different human races. White Americans, Black Americans and Arabs were seen moving up and down the city. People were highly concentrated in urban areas with numbers progressively declining in forested and farmland areas. This was evidently supported by huge number of residential areas in urban areas of Miami city. The population consisted of young, medium and elderly people. Both male and female genders were prominently present in most parts of Miami although the male population was slightly higher in urban regions compared to female population.
After exploring various regions of Miami city, I entered North Bay, Ontario in Canada. The rugged terrain forms major regions of North Bay city. The cloudy, snowy and freezing weather dominated main areas of the city. Most parts of North Bay had temperatures lower than 10 degrees centigrade. The weather was diverse and varied from one region to another. Some areas were humid, cloudy and with little sunshine while others were covered with snowfalls. Generally the climate for North Bay city is cool and wet throughout the year. Most regions of North city have rugged terrain which is characterized by numerous rocks. To the east of North Bay is River Ottawa, however, the most fascinating scenery is Great Lakes Basin located in West region. At the heart of North Bay City are Lake Nipissing and Lake Trout. Volcanic pipes such as Callander Bay and Manitou Island were evident in various regions of the city. Exposed volcanic dykes and batholiths were other prominent landforms in North Bay city. Most of these landforms are tourists’ attraction sites.
Vegetation cover in North Bay city is diverse. As observed, most of vegetation is composed of grass, shrubs, herbs and forests. The vegetation cover in the city creates microclimate which has greatly favored agricultural activities in the region.
Urban regions of North Bay city were highly populated. This was evidently supported by numerous residential buildings within urban centers as compared to rural areas. In addition the human population consisted of all ages including, young, middle-aged and elderly. Scattered settlements majorly dominated rural areas. North Bay city is also metropolitan consisting of diverse human races. Main noted human races included Blacks, Chinese, Latin Americans and Asians. North Bay city has diverse culture which comprises of artists, musicians, writers and actors.
Soil and water conservation measures such as bench terraces, grass ways, cut-off drains and vegetation cover were evident in many farms. Wheat, oats, barley and grapes were main crops grown in many farms. In addition to growing of crops, North Bay people also practice animal rearing whereby dairy cattle dominated many farms. Small percentages of manmade forest were also observed in various regions in North Bay.
A number of recreational facilities are located in various regions within North Bay city. Main recreational activities in North Bay city include but not limited to skiing, skating, snowmobiling and snow-shoeing. Sporting games such as soccer, baseball and hockey are also common in the city. Sand Beaches located within Lake Nipissing and Lake Trout such as Birchaven Cove and Marathon Beach form beautiful sceneries in the core of North Bay city (Larsen 34).
Tall buildings and availability of well-developed infrastructure system gave North Bay city unique and outstanding appearance. Big Highways and railway lines dominated the transport industry. North Bay city has one of most modern and developed airport. The airport is considered the largest and busiest in Ontario. Social facilities such as schools, health centers and churches were evidently present in many regions of North Bay city. However, these facilities were highly concentrated in urban areas as compared to rural areas.
Throughout the trip the landscape remained unique and outstanding. Landforms such as valleys, rugged terrain, rocky landscape, water bodies and various forms of vegetation cover formed a fascinating landscape in both cities. More interesting were recreational facilities such as skating, skiing, snow-shoeing and snowmobiling. Generally, the landscape of both Miami and North Bay influenced human activities such as farming, urban planning, human settlement and establishment of recreational and social facilities (Davis, Steven M., et al). In addition, the type of landscape clearly depicted various forms of natural processes associated with particular regions. For example, availability of volcanic pipes and dykes in Miami city implied that the region was prone to volcanic eruptions.
Davis, Steven M., et al. "Landscape dimension, composition, and function in a changing Everglades ecosystem." Everglades: the ecosystem and its restoration (1994): 419-444.
Harlem, P. W., and J. F. Meeder. "LiDAR Detection of Karst Landforms in Miami-Dade County, Florida, a Tool for Environmental Management." Poster). Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) Conference, Naples, FL. 2008.
Nijhuis, Steffen, Ron Van Lammeren, and Frank van der Hoeven. Exploring the visual landscape: advances in physiognomic landscape research in the Netherlands. Vol. 2. TU Delft, 2011.
Larsen, Curtis E. "Lake level, uplift, and outlet incision, the Nipissing and Algoma Great Lakes." Quaternary evolution of the Great Lakes. Vol. 30. Geological Association of Canada Newfoundland, Canada, 1985. 62-77.
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