iowa: a place

Created by the Land Ordinance of 1785, the Jeffersonian Grid began to form the land of Iowa into square-mile sections. Intended to develop the nation into that of “yeoman farmers,” this land division system drastically reshaped the landscape of Iowa, from native ecosystems of prairie, wetlands, and oak savannahs to agricultural plats, more easily sold and purchased by the mass of immigrants that moved west over the next 150 years. This system developed for platting and selling became the arbitrary division of land across this state, unravelling organic ecosystems into squares with little thought for the natural mechanisms of the environment. This piece, Division of Land, contemplates the spatial separation of Iowa in another way: through the watersheds. A watershed is defined as a region that is drained by a system of waterways. Consider the consequences if the county borders were that of the watersheds. How would your life be different?