As the Campus Landscape Architect for the University of Pretoria, it has been an on-going challenge to gain an understanding and reliable data on the history of the landscape of the University of Pretoria's Hatfield campus. With the pace of development taking place on the campus, in order to meet the University's 2025 Strategic Vision, it became very clear that potential significant cultural landscapes on the Hatfield campus could be lost without ever knowing it. This is especially even more so when related to the South African Heritage Resources Act 25 of 1999 (SAHRA). The Getty Foundation's Campus Heritage Initiative's first grant for a conference in 2000 shared consensus that historic landscape preservation had a very low profile in much of American campus planning
The hypothesis states that the University of Pretoria's Hatfield Campus has an undiscovered cultural landscape history that not only could have value to the development of the University, but also to that of the surrounding precincts of the City. The thesis's aim is to record any sourced data pertaining to the cultural landscape of the University of Pretoria's Hatfield campus in order to contribute to the institutional repository, and to ascertain what, if any, cultural landscape values exist. A complex descriptive and historiographical interpretative research strategy was followed. A literature, policy and model study was conducted resulting in the main research tool being the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service's Cultural Landscape Report (CLR). The limitation to the thesis was Part 1: Site History, Existing Conditions, Analysis and Evaluation of the CLR to the University of Pretoria's Hatfield Campus for the period 1910 to 1960.
The study highlighted that the Hatfield Campus does contain tangible cultural landscape elements but very little is known or present of the intangible elements. The current political climate of the University places emphasis on equalising the cultural diversity on campuses, perhaps to the detriment of the existing cultural landscape, mainly by the naming and/or renaming of its buildings. A recommendation is that a Management and Preservation Plan encompassing both the architectural and landscape aspects be compiled to inform the future planning of the campus.