From high-rise city centers to expansive deserts, from urban sprawl to empty canyons, the North American landscape has incredible variety: how does one even begin to take stock of its endlessly proliferating cityscapes and its vast horizons? A group of 25 landscape architects, urban designers, visual artists, photographers and commentators on the American landscape were invited by the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB) to undertake a journey through the United States to study and record its history and development.

Their joint study revolved around three themes or types of locations: the city park as a social space in densely developed urban centers, the landscape at the periphery of expanding cities, and the development of large-scale rural areas as exercises in conservation.

Their journey resulted in an exhibition at the Nettenfabriek in Apeldoorn during the 2008 Apeldoorn International Triennial. On that occasion, Sanne Peper presented a selection of her photographs of the rugged and untouched scenery of Arizona. Tainted by x-rays due to the extraordinary safety precautions at international airports, the film had acquired a sinister veil, resulting in dark and grainy images.

The results of the study tour have been recorded in the book Reading the American Landscape, which includes essays by the members of the group and artworks by the participating artists. Designed by Irma Boom, the book was published by NAi publishers. It was awarded Best Book Design in 2009.