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LandSCAPES: A typology of approaches to landscape architecture



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LandSCAPES: A Typology of Approaches
to Landscape Architecture
Is the practice of landscape
architecture differentiated
most by style and project type, or are
there other important differences in
approach among members of the
profession? This paper presents a
typology or classification of six land-
scape architecture approaches or the-
ories of practice and analyses the
underlying values of each (see Table
1). These approaches stake out the
majority of landscape architecture
practice in the U.S. across a variety
of specialties. The six approaches
are summarized by the acronym
1. S design as Synthesis
2. C Cultivated expression
3. A landscape Analysis
4. P Plural design
5. E Ecological design
6. S Spiritual landscapes
We argue that each of these ap-
proaches involves a distinctive way of
practicing landscape architecture on
several dimensions: its goals, the pro-
cess used in design or analysis, main
clients or audiences, the scale of con-
cern, intellectual or knowledge base,
ethical approach, relation to the nat-
ural world, and the approachs anal-
ysis of power relations or the larger
role of landscape architecture work
in society (see Table 1, horizontal
The identity of landscape archi-
tecture has evolved and expanded
since its founding in the late nine-
teenth and early twentieth centuries.
The profession has also incorporated
stylistic changes prevalent in the
broader architectural world—from
modernism through postmodern
styles. Writings about the profession
have focused critical attention on
style or on the practicalities of partic-
ular kinds of projects such as corpo-
rate campuses or public parks. In
contrast, the landSCAPES typology
provides a framework for analyzing
practice as a value laden process, that is
representing the range of ways that
landscape architects go about their
work, and the core values that they
There are many reasons why it
would help landscape architects to
examine the procedural and value
dimensions of landscape architec-
ture practice as represented in the
landSCAPES typology. By classifying
approaches and thinking about such
classifications, landscape architects
can reflect upon and debate dimen-
sions of the profession that are too
often implicit and invisible. For ex-
ample, do landscape architects see
their work as politically neutral or as
a force advocating the preservation
Crewe and Forsyth 37
LandSCAPES: A Typology of Approaches to
Landscape Architecture
Katherine Crewe and Ann Forsyth
Katherine Crewe is Assistant Profes-
sor of Landscape Architecture and
Planning at Arizona State University.
Her work focuses on citizen partici-
pation and design in small towns and
rural areas. She holds a Ph.D. from
the University of Massachusetts at
Amherst, a Masters degree in land-
scape architecture from Berkeley,
and a Bachelors from Rhodes
Ann Forsyth is Professor of Urban
Design and Director of the Design
Center for American Urban Land-
scape at the University of Minnesota,
Twin Cities. Her work focuses on the
social aspects of physical planning
and urban development. She holds a
Ph.D. in city and regional planning
from Cornell, a Masters degree in
urban planning from UCLA, and a
Bachelor of Science in architecture
from the University of Sydney.
Abstract: This paper presents a typology or classification of six landscape architecture
approaches or theories summarized by the acronym landSCAPES:
1. S design as Synthesis
2. C Cultivated expression
3. A landscape Analysis
4. P Plural design
5. E Ecological design
6. S Spiritual landscapes
These categories have distinctive approaches to landscape architecture on eight dimensions:
(1) its goals, (2) the process used in design or analysis; (3) main clients or audiences;
(4) the scale of concern; (5) intellectual or knowledge base; (6) ethical approach; (7) rela-
tion to the natural world; and (8) the approach’s analysis of power relations or the larger
role of landscape architecture in society. By classifying approaches and thinking about
such classifications, landscape architects can reflect upon and debate dimensions of the
profession that are too often implicit and invisible.
Landscape Journal 22:1–03 ISSN 0277-2426
© 2003 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 37
Table 1. Landscape Architecture Approaches
Client/ Intellectual Approach to Analysis of
Approach Goals Process Audience Scale base Ethics nature power
Design as SIntegration, Landscape Government, Varied—from General Doing good Do not get caught up See LAs as doing good—
Synthesis problem architecture as corporate, and private gardens preofessional through in arguments about a coprorate campus may
solving problem solving— private clients and corporate knowledge professional whether nature has be for a powerful
analyzing the who pay for campuses to plans work intrinsic worth— corporation but it is an
problem and professional for national they are busy solving environment enjoyed
synthesizing an competence parks human problems by workers
Cultivated CArtistic Intuitive and Patrons who Small to medium— History and Artistic Plants are a means Works for patrons (or
expression expression expressive; are prepared at most the scale criticism expression of human artistic aspires to) that are part
some base in to pay for art of a large urban expression, and are of the economic or
art history park. combined with other political elite—this kind
materials of expression needs
people prepared to pay
for it.
Landscape ALarge scale Draws on natural Government or Very large— Ecology, physical Various See ethics Allied with government
analysis landscape science research non-profit groups habitats, geography, some environmental and powerful interest
protection but applies this (or some private watersheds, cultural ethics—the larger groups to gain control
to managing and clients with very greenways geography natural world is over large landscapes;
conserving large large landholdings a focus either some work on eduaction
landscapes using who need to intrinsically or to build constituencies;
more generic manage land areas because protecting sees high levels of
principles it will protect government as potential
humans allies and aspires after
high levels of control.
Plural PEmpowerment Professional The least Small Democratic Egalitarian and Nature is a setting Assumes that users can
design and knowledge advantaged theory, citizen democtratic for human life. be given power over
participation and local/user neighborhood participation their own environments;
of users knowledge residents, etc. general brackets larger issues
interact professional of inequality to deal
knowledge, with immediate needs
local knowledge
Ecological EDesign Draws on natural Government, Small to medium— Ecology, Various Try to create They ignore human–
design grounded in science research corporate, and at most the scale of horticulture environmental landscapes that human power relations—
nature but applies this to private clients the restoration of a ethics—the larger create human-scaled though of course that
design problems who want to mine or waste natural world is ecosystems, though doesn’t mean that
restore, enhance, facility. a focus either still respecting the they are absent.
or supplement intrinsically or natural world first.
existing because protecting
environments it will protect
Spiritual SDeep Some design Non-profit and Small to medium Psychology, Humanistic Nature is a setting They ignore human–
Landscapes connection intuition but government theology/ (though itcould for human life (but human power relations—
of humans also reflecting clients who are religion, be somewhat in this case its though of course that
and nature knowledge about interested in medicine biocentric)—these spiritual and doesn’t mean that
psychology, landscpes for are landscapes transcendent they are absent.
theology, etc. healing for humans even dimensions).
if part of the
purpose is
connection to
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 38
of the natural world? Does landscape
practice promote sustainability in
today’s world? Do particular ap-
proaches promote social equity or
maintain social hierarchies? What
forms of information or knowledge
are most used by particular land-
scape architects? How does the pro-
fession define beauty? The typology
of approaches is helpful in this con-
text by articulating the substantial
differences among landscape archi-
tects in their answers to these
As we show below, the profes-
sion of planning has thought a great
deal about issues of process, values,
and the politics of planning and in
doing so planners have become rela-
tively sophisticated about their own
work, and capable of choosing
among approaches. The field of ar-
chitecture has a literature on this is-
sue too, mainly focused on different
approaches to design decision-
making. With a language to talk
about such issues, planners and a
number of architects have been able
to make considered choices about
their practice. In landscape architec-
ture, this kind of analysis and debate
can help make practitioners con-
scious of the assumptions that they
make in their work, how they are con-
strained by external forces and their
own perspectives, and how they can
choose to change.
In contrast to some procedu-
rally based theories in planning and
architecture, these approaches are
not abstract processes applicable to
any kind of project, but specific ap-
proaches linked to particular ones.
That is, these approaches are rich
and particular rather than universal,
reflecting the landscape architecture
practices that we analyzed.
Of course there are overlaps in
approach, as the same landscape ar-
chitect may use different approaches
on different projects, change ap-
proaches over the years, or even
combine approaches within a single
project. However, the approaches
represent distinctive ways of dealing
with design. A reflective landscape ar-
chitect will be able to choose the
most appropriate approach for the
situation, rather than just following
conventional practice.
The following paper is in three
parts. The first part introduces the
concept of a typology of processes,
using examples of urban planning
and architecture to show the variety
and uses of such typologies in related
fields. In the second part, we outline
each of the landSCAPES approaches,
examining their components and
presenting examples. In the third
part, we explore the implications of
this analysis for landscape architec-
ture practice. Overall, each of the ap-
proaches in the typology provides a
different path toward excellence.
Consciousness of these differences
can create a more reflective, com-
plex, and relevant landscape archi-
tecture practice.
Part I: Background
Typologies of Theories. Theories
are generally thought of as abstrac-
tions that help explain events, and
they can also articulate patterns of
relationship among phenomena
(Faludi 1973, 22). In the world of
practice, theories can help practition-
ers understand their own work and
its relation to the larger society and
the natural world. In the professions,
theory frequently has a normative
component, since it provides guid-
ance on what makes good practice
and not just an explanation of its
Typologies are classifications.
In architecture the term “typology”
has been most used in the sense of a
classification of spatial “types” where
types are models, prototypes, or
primitive building forms (Franck
and Schneekloth 1994). The notion
of type frequently has both functional
and symbolic dimensions. This has
been extended to landscape, for ex-
ample in Condon’s typology of built
landscape types: clearing, allee, or-
chard, terrace, street, square, yard,
and cloister (Condon 1994, 80).
These types are then seen as forming
a language of design (Lavin 1992,
88–92; Vidler 1986; Colquhoun 1981).
However, the use of typologies
as classifications is much broader
than the study of spatial types. Order-
ing and classifying is important in
both analysis and theory in a range
of fields and subject areas. In the
context of social sciences, Tiryakian
(1968) proposes that the typology has
three functions—correcting miscon-
ceptions and confusions about rela-
tionships between concepts, organiz-
ing knowledge around clearly
defined parameters, and helping di-
rect theory building and research
(see also Yiftachel 1989, 24).
LandSCAPES is a typology or
classification of approaches or theo-
ries where “theory” is used loosely to
cover a cluster of concepts, themes,
and frameworks that over time have
tended to coalesce into distinctive
ways of working or perhaps types
of practice (Lawrence 2000, 608).
These theories provide frameworks
for helping practitioners understand
and explain their worlds and they
also provide normative guidance on
how to do good work. They help ex-
plain differences among practition-
ers, as well as the strengths and weak-
nesses of different forms of practice.
It is not directly about the landscape
types—such as parks, yards, or gar-
dens—but about the goals landscape
architects have, the knowledge they
draw on, and the methods used in
Both planning and architecture
have developed typologies of such ap-
proaches and not just of environmen-
tal or building types. Understanding
the character of these typologies pro-
vided a starting point for the land-
SCAPES typology.
Typologies in Planning. Typolo-
gies of planning theories have tended
to focus on the procedural dimen-
sions of practice.
While some plan-
ning approaches have been con-
ceptualized by their proponents as
largely technical, others have incor-
porated political and ethical dimen-
sions. For example, Table 2 presents
a number of these typologies, with a
fairly inclusive list of such categories
in the left column. Following the
early dominance of blueprint planning
and master plans, the rational plan-
ning process has provided a core
model for planning since the middle
of the twentieth century. This model
Crewe and Forsyth 39
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 39
presents planning as a form of
rational decision making that moves
systematically from goal formulation
through analysis to plan development
and implementation in a process
that, while sometimes engaging in
politics, generally tries to keep out of
the fray. Since the 1950s, Lindblom
has pointed to the limited and incre-
mental character of standard plan-
ning practice, which are bounded in
terms of goals, options, issues, and
proposed activities. As a reaction in
the 1960s, liberal advocates (along
with equity or progressive planners)
began pointing to the essentially po-
litical nature of planners’ work, argu-
ing that planners would best serve
the public interest by making plan-
ning available to those with the least
social and economic advantages. This
radical approach sees standard plan-
ning practice as misguided unless
subject to broad democratic or redis-
tributive processes. Many radical
planners have also questioned as-
sumptions about valid knowledge,
ethics, and social equity. In recent
years, a cluster of planning ap-
proaches has developed around a
conception of collaborative planning,
or planning that is more concerned
with consensus and structured public
and stakeholder involvement than
with other aspects of process.
As can also be seen in Table 2,
recently there has been an emer-
gence of theories concerned with
good urban form, particularly con-
cerning sustainability issues. In spite
of a superficial resemblance to early
blueprint planning, these new physi-
cally oriented planning approaches
are highly concerned with process.
While all approaches address issues
of decision making and the role of
planning in society, for many the ulti-
mate urban or regional form (such as
the ecological character of cities and
regions) can outweigh process.
Typologies in Architecture and
Design. So far, only a limited litera-
ture in the field of architecture has
40 Landscape Journal
Table 2: Selection of Typologies Based on Planning Process or Decision Making
Generic Hudson Forester Friedmann Briasoulis Lawrence Fainstein
Category 1979 1982a,b/1989 1987 1989 2000 2000
Blueprint Corbusian
Rational Synoptic Technician Policy Comprehensive/ Rationalism Rational
Analysis/ Rational model (p 452)
Incremental Incremental Incrementalist Incremental Pragmatism Incrementalist
Mutual learning/ Transactive Social Adaptive & Communication Communicative/
collaborative Learning Participator y/ and Collaborative
Consensual Collaboration
Advocacy Advocacy Liberal Social Advocacy Political-
(Davidoff 1965) advocate Mobilization? (with a Economic
conservative Mobilization
Radical/Marxists Radical Structuralist Social Political-
Mobilization Economic
Progressive Progressive Social Political- Just City
(social justice) Mobilization Economic
& Socio-
Visionary/ Socio- New
Urban form ecological Urbanism
Specialized/ Contingency
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 40
focused on issues of process, and this
has been restricted to the process of
design decision-making—a single
component of practice. As was dis-
cussed earlier, the design fields have
instead developed typologies of
places, spaces, and styles (Schneek-
loth and Franck 1994, 15–17).
However, some process-
oriented typologies have emerged.
Broadbent (1973, chapters 2 and 20)
outlines four approaches to design:
(1) pragmatic design (trial and error,
common practice, structural consid-
erations); (2) iconic design (using ac-
cepted forms); (3) analogic design
(more creative, drawing for inspira-
tion on random forms); and (4)
canonic design (using standard geo-
metric or proportional systems as a
basis for design). Rowe (1987, chap-
ter 3) has developed a more complex
typology of practitioners to include
issues of style and “orientation.” His
categories are: functionalists (“form
follows function”); populists (ac-
knowledging user preferences and
popular tastes); conventionists (his-
torical reference); and formalists
(akin to Broadbent’s analogic de-
sign). Rowe (1987, 56–91) offers two
additional process typologies focused
on design decision-making at the
fine-grained scale of architect and
project. One typology involves meth-
ods for generating solutions from
scratch (through trial and error, gen-
erating and testing, means-ends anal-
ysis, and problem space planning).
The second typology offers rule of
thumb methods for finding solutions
(through anthropometric analogies,
literal analogies, environmental
analogies, and formal language).
We found these architectural
process typologies important for this
paper given their focus on design
thinking rather than design prod-
ucts, although issues such as client
role, ethics, aesthetics, and power are
only addressed as minor or implicit
aspects. We believe, however, that a
richer classification remains to be de-
veloped within the design profes-
sions, for example one that addresses
long term values and implications, or
one that incorporates elements as
formalism and corporate practice
within a working framework.
The LandSCAPES Typology. The
landSCAPES typology introduces ap-
proaches that reflect the character of
the profession as it has developed his-
torically. These approaches may also
be seen to underlie categories for
awards, the subject matter of journals
and college courses, and the topics of
conferences and books. Rather than
focusing exclusively on project types,
however, these categories encourage
thinking about underlying ap-
proaches to the same problem or
project. Among landscape architects,
process has so far been most aggres-
sively discussed by those involved
with what we call plural design and
landscape analysis (for example,
Steinitz 1990; Hester 1985, 1990). For
those using other approaches, proj-
ect outcome has typically been
viewed as most critical. However, this
focus on outcomes does not mean
that process is unimportant in these
approaches, just that it is less explicit.
While the names of the ap-
proaches are our inventions, we be-
lieve most will be familiar to land-
scape architects. Typically, landscape
architects will have chosen a particu-
lar approach or approaches in their
practice or will specialize in one, or a
limited number, of approaches.
Methods. The six approaches
were identified through an iterative
process. After a preliminary typology
was developed based on a review of
the profession’s history and key writ-
ings, this was tested for its fit with re-
cent work. In our search for ex-
amples of recent professional work,
we scrutinized project profiles in
Landscape Architecture from January
1997 through December 2001. We
made two surveys of those five years,
the first to create our set of typolo-
gies, the second to research projects
in light of the categories we had cre-
ated. We chose Landscape Architecture
because of its wide professional read-
ership, its coverage of a variety of
upcoming professional work, and
its annual ASLA Awards program.
However, we were aware that pub-
lished projects would not necessarily
parallel current professional work in
all respects, given editorial prefer-
ences and a strategic necessity on the
part of the publishers to privilege ex-
ceptional and memorable projects.
We chose to focus on recent
work in Landscape Architecture that was
newly “off the boards,” and were en-
couraged by earlier reviewers to count
the number of projects within each
category during the five-year period
(see Table 3). Quantifying, however,
revealed a number of problems. Were
we to weight main features equally
with the vignettes in “Rip Rap” and
the “Technical” sections? Should we
pass over the many features on his-
toric or past projects, or features on
noteworthy practitioners that in-
cluded a lifetime of practice? There
were some inevitable problems of
overlap too: we encountered two
“synthesis” projects, which clearly in-
cluded an ecological component,
plus one example of “cultivated ex-
pression” with a strong element of
“spiritual design.” Quantifying again
caused us to question the representa-
tiveness of Landscape Architecture. For
example, we suspect that many “plu-
ral design” projects are more com-
monly represented in local or organi-
zational newspapers, given their
modest scale. We also found scant in-
clusion of the “landscape analysis”
category, although we knew this in-
volved many professionals in national
Crewe and Forsyth 41
Table 3: LandSCAPES Approaches
in Landscape Architecture Magazine,
Landscape 95 30
as Synthesis
Cultivated 91 29
Landscape 2 1
Ecological 85 27
Plural 26 8
Spiritual 18 6
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 41
and state departments. For this ap-
proach we referred to (but did not
count) specialized journals such as
Landscape and Urban Planning and
publications by professionals such as
Ervin Zube, Ian McHarg, and Julius
Part 2:
Approaches to Landscape Architecture
Design as Synthesis. Design as
synthesis or integration is the core ap-
proach of the landscape architecture
profession, and describes most of the
work done by landscape architects in
urban design, housing, and general
site planning projects. Design as syn-
thesis involves “synthesis” at multiple
levels. The approach involves design
that brings together disparate ele-
ments and creates a solution that can
resolve contradictions.
This resolu-
tion has sometimes been referred to
as the “staged-process” model, which
typically moves through a sequence
of steps from defining a problem, an-
alyzing it, and synthesizing a design,
to implementing or producing the
design (see review in Rowe 1987, 46–
49). This process may at times be iter-
ative, allowing opportunities for feed-
back, but there is a sense of working
systematically through a problem and syn-
thesizing a solution. The design as syn-
thesis approach also brings together
professionals from a variety of inter-
ests, and backgrounds, so there is a
sense of synthesis as collaboration or in-
tegration (compare with, Beauregard
1989, 385).
It epitomizes the land-
scape architecture experience as ini-
tially described by Olmsted as the
bringing together of “multitudinous
natural and man-made parts in har-
monious relation” (Sutton, 1997).
While all our approaches may unite
diverse parts, they will be limited to
one or two dimensions. Design as syn-
thesis, on the other hand, involves
finding an inclusive middle ground
(see Figure 1).
Historically, the profession
came into existence in the U.S.
through Olmsted’s work on Central
Park, in which a designed landscape
provided a key synthesizing element
by creating a visual, social, and icono-
graphic focus for New York City,
while also systematically solving infra-
structure problems and cleaning up
the City. Boston’s subsequent Emer-
ald Necklace achieved the same kind
of synthesis through a chain of parks
extending to Boston’s outer suburbs.
Subsequent “Olmsted” parks have
performed this synthesizing function
nationwide. In all cases, landscape ar-
chitects have worked in collabora-
tion, not only with other profession-
als but in a kind of “collaboration”
with the city’s disparate parts, a mix
of neighborhoods, natural features,
infrastructure, and jurisdictions. This
collaborative/synthesizing function
has always been more pronounced in
landscape architecture than in archi-
While the approach may in-
volve creativity and intuition, this is
in the service of problem solving and
collaboration, defining a problem
and working to a logical and mutu-
ally acceptable solution. This work is
done for a range of clients, from gov-
ernment to corporate and private.
The scale of the work can vary from
streetscape improvements and corpo-
rate campuses to plans for resorts,
towns, and communities. The realis-
tic and practical design approach
draws on what we call general profes-
sional knowledge as taught in univer-
sities, tested in licensing procedures,
and discussed in association journals.
While the work may refer to the char-
acter of the location, local plant com-
munities, and local historical themes,
there is no time for intensive histor-
icism, nor high style design, or in-
depth social research. This approach
sees an overall obligation to serve both
citizens and the environment within
bounded circumstances, and within
the context of professional collabo-
ration. For example, a project may
serve a powerful corporation but it
can also be an environment enjoyed
by workers, or a design may harmo-
nize with the environment while ig-
noring broader ecological impacts.
The emphasis is on pragmatic effi-
ciency, given the complexities of the
project itself.
We found many recent parallels
to Central Park, for example,
Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River Park
Project. This is a waterfront concept
for Philadelphia’s down-at-heel
Schuylkill River. The landscape archi-
tects (the Delta Group) undertook to
draw together a dissipated shoreline,
varied land uses, a diffuse and ar-
chaic transportation system, and rich
historical elements to create a work-
able system for the new city, thus
transforming an industrial waterfront
to a cultural corridor. An important
goal was to connect the University
City and Philadelphia’s high-tech
shore by creating bike paths to the
urban periphery. Landscape archi-
tects worked with diverse clients,
drawing funding from local, state,
federal, and private sources, “each
with its own strings attached” (Stein
2000, 49). The City’s Streets Depart-
ment contributed more than $7 mil-
lion of ISTEA funds, then private
agencies and volunteer groups
helped draw up inventories of exist-
ing landforms to create a GIS data-
base. In a process that demanded ex-
tensive analysis, the project drew on
the site’s resources, creating “room-
like spaces” under bridges, and trails
and bike paths out of industrial
wasteland, in a final product that
promises to “reclaim the tidal
Schuylkill as the City’s common
ground” (Stein 2000, 51). Some addi-
tional projects might include recent
work on the University of California
San Diego campus (Leccese l997),
the neo-traditional riverwalk along
the Milwaukee River (Maynard
1997), and a number of large-scale
international projects.
Given the constraints of large
“synthesizing” projects, landscape ar-
chitects may engage local artists and
sculptors to design any requisite spe-
cial features. For example, the land-
scape architects Melendrez Babbelas
engaged the local artist Blue
McRight to design an artwork for the
Los Angeles Staples Center, creating
gargantuan “teardrops” out of woven
wire to highlight the entrance (Ham-
matt 2000a, 16).
Upholding the middle ground
can be a strength and a weakness for
landscape architects practicing de-
sign as synthesis. Apart from facing
compromise on social and environ-
42 Landscape Journal
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 42
mental grounds, as has been men-
tioned, many also find it hard to get
publicly recognized for their design
work. While a notable building may
assume the name of its architect, a
three-mile strip of linear parkway is
seldom associated with those respon-
sible for its design and creation. Of-
ten the more successful the land-
scape project, the less attention it
draws to its making. However, the
strengths of synthesis are consider-
able. Complex environments offer
numerous opportunities for the skills
of landscape architects, and the ben-
efits from good landscape architec-
ture are readily apparent to many
groups, from economic developers
and city officials to environmentalists
and local neighborhoods.
Cultivated Expression. This ap-
proach is seen in the work of a rela-
tively few high-profile practitioners,
displaying a high degree of artistic at-
tainment. These projects are typically
imageable and invite acclaim for
their artistic merit. The focus is on
creating new and unique works of
art. Individuals or firms often de-
velop a recognizable style that they
refine over a number of projects; with
each new work becoming a page in
the story of a body of work. On occa-
sion such practitioners have formed
schools associated with specific styles,
as in the case of the Concord School
in New England or the Southern Cal-
ifornia garden architects around the
turn of the century, or later “mod-
ernists” such as Rose, Eckbo, and
Kiley (see Figure 2).
Landscape architects in this cat-
egory have had intense but varied re-
lationships to history. These relation-
ships range from the strongly
historicist approach of neo-
traditional landscape architects, such
as Jellicoe and Farrand, to the mili-
tantly anti-traditional approach of
Rose, to partially historicist approach
of Kiley (Walker and Simo l996).
However, typically the process of de-
sign is seen as intuitive and personal,
reflecting the specific experiences of
the designer. This often gives pro-
found importance to a designer’s
background, as it might include the
Crewe and Forsyth 43
Figure 1. Design as Synthesis: Darling Harbour Redevelopment, Sydney, Australia. Master Planning and Design Guidelines: Design, Inc;
Urban Design: MSJ Group. Though it is important to recognize, like many projects in this category, that multiple firms and designers
have contributed their signature over a period of years. Photo: Ann Forsyth.
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 43
European travels of Beatrix Farrand
or Kiley, or the intensely personal re-
lationship of Burle Marx to Brazil or
Barragan to Mexico.
For these landscape architects,
design products are often rigorously
structured, observing a logic of scale,
proportion, and sequence. Designs
may emerge through use of meta-
phor or analogy; or they may aim for
a sense of harmony and timelessness.
Often they are deliberately provoca-
tive, with some using dissonance to
provoke reactions. These highly artis-
tic landscapes are typically discrete,
dependent on a protected setting,
and rich in association.
The ways of talking about work
most closely approximate architects,
particularly those most interested in
formal issues. A quote from Cana-
dian architect Arthur Erickson ex-
plains some of this particular ap-
proach to creativity as art:
Architecture is not simply a
form-giving language of conscious
thought, which commits to a ration-
ale. Although there is a purpose
to the building and a logic to its
organization, the concept for its
form comes from the creative
depth within the psyche, an amal-
gamation of the life experiences
that have been assimilated into the
ocean of the unconscious we carry
within us. I never know during the
act of design why I do what I do.
I am sure this is common for any
artist, writer, poet, painter, or archi-
tect. Picasso said, “I do not seek, I
find.” It is this moment of finding
that is the “Eureka” of the creative
act; its source unknown. It is only
when I am asked why, that some of
the influences can be dredged up
out of the unconscious. You do not
think your way through a design,
you feel your way. The act of cre-
ation is dictated by an inner moti-
vation, the feeling of what is right
for a composition whose meaning
is not yet, nor may ever be, clear
to the creator. The rightness of a
composition is arrived at beyond
thought, but guided by its condi-
tions and the sense of appropriate-
ness. That is why I used to advise
my students, “Don’t think. When
you design with thought, it is very
restrictive. It is better to find your
solution out of the chaos of your
feelings and then begin to seek the
structure, discipline and spaces
that can clearly embody them.
(Erickson 2000)
From landscape architecture,
Laurie Olin makes a similar point,
though using less personal language
and stressing knowledge of form:
Where do forms come from?
Forms come from forms first.
Forms do not come from words.
They cannot. Words can describe
the physical forms, but they do not
(or did not) originate them; nor
can they perform operations upon
44 Landscape Journal
Figure 2. Cultivated Expression: Federal Courthouse Plaza, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Designer: Martha Schwartz, Inc. Photo: Frank Fitzgerald, used by permission.
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 44
them. One must be familiar with a
repertoire of forms before one can
use them or manipulate them.
Art, and landscape architecture
as a subfield of art, proceeds by
using a known body of forms, a
vocabulary of shapes, and by apply-
ing ideas concerning their use and
manipulation. (Olin 1988, 155)
Recent examples of this cate-
gory include the more celebrated
high-profile work of EDAW, Olin
Associates, Martha Schwartz, George
Hargreaves, Michael Van Valken-
burgh, and Peter Walker (Brown
1991). Contemporary environments
include private gardens, corporate
headquarters, and the grounds of art
galleries and major public buildings.
A notable recent example is Olin’s
Sculpture Garden in the Washington
National Gallery. As a “thoughtfully
crafted landscape of diverse spaces,”
this project creates an enclosed and
concentrated milieu into which Lau-
rie Olin has incorporated not only a
pervading American Classicism and
the picturesque vision of Andrew
Jackson Downing’s unbuilt plan for
the Mall, but finally what he calls
“post-de-Stijl geometry” (Brown
2000, 53–9).
It is in this area of cultivated
expression that landscape architects
have received most individual recog-
nition. Most often, an exceptional
project location and high public visi-
bility have favored this work, while
good funding and generous contracts
have enabled creative fantasies. Dis-
advantages have included vulnerabil-
ity to adverse criticism since, more
than the other categories, this work
has invited scrutiny on aesthetic
grounds. For instance, we noted that
the Olin Partnership’s recent design
for the Getty Center in Los Angeles
was followed with an email survey of
landscape architects’ opinions on the
strengths and weaknesses of the proj-
ect (Thompson 2000).
Landscape Analysis. Landscape
planners and analysts attempt to pre-
serve and maintain large natural and
cultural landscapes, and draw on
ecology, physical geography, and
some aspects of cultural geography to
do this. However, the emphasis here
is on application. They take the often-
specialized work of natural scientists
and devise integrated systems that
sustain natural processes and habi-
tats, blending compatible land uses
and separating incompatible ones,
often preserving cultural landscapes.
They also create generic designs such
as buffers and corridors to ensure
long term sustainability. Although
there are parallels with design as syn-
thesis, here the outcome is generally
a framework for preservation, con-
servation, or restoration rather than
a proposal for creating something
different. Instead of project-specific
designs, landscape analysts and plan-
ners typically offer design guidelines
to cover large areas (Steiner et al.
1988) (see Figure 3).
Given their concern with habi-
tats, large-scale drainage areas, ripar-
ian corridors, and greenways, land-
scape analysts are interested in
controlling large areas, and to do
this they work for government de-
partments or influential public and
private agencies. Their commitment
has been to protect the larger natural
world, both intrinsically and because
protecting the natural world will
protect humans. Often they involve
themselves in environmental educa-
tion to build constituencies for their
work. While some of this work is pub-
lished in Landscape Architecture, this
group has parallel journals such as
Landscape and Urban Planning.
Crewe and Forsyth 45
Figure 3. Landscape Analysis: Master plan for the Sanoran Preserve, Pheonix, Arizona.
Principal authors: James Burke and Joseph Ewan, The Herberger Center for Design
Excellence, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 45
This arm of the profession
played an important role during
landscape architecture’s early years
with the annexation of the country’s
wilderness areas, as they achieved co-
operation with national, state, and re-
gional governments. This govern-
ment connection was further
strengthened by their activities dur-
ing Roosevelt’s New Deal in the de-
pression era, when again landscape
architects were engaged in conserva-
tion practices.
Landscape planning and anal-
ysis requires a heavy dependence on
scientific expertise; it also involves
negotiation with private interests.
The knowledge base of landscape
planners and analysts is often distinct
from those of other landscape archi-
tects, drawing on the teachings of re-
gional planners such as Geddes, Ben-
ton Mackaye, and later, McHarg and
Lewis. Techniques involve GIS and
other computer technologies, al-
though their goal transcends the
technical in the effort to give “expres-
sion to the potential harmony of
man-nature” (McHarg 1969, 5). This
approach is also strongly linked to
the natural sciences.
Where else can we turn for an ac-
curate model of the world and
ourselves but to science? We can
accept that scientific knowledge is
incomplete and will forever be so,
but it is the best we have and it has
great merit, which religions lack, of
being self-correcting. Moreover, if
we wish to understand the phenom-
enal world, then we will reasonably
direct our questions to those scien-
tists who are concerned with this
realm—the natural scientists. More
precisely, when our preoccupation
is with the interactions of organ-
isms and environment—and I can
think of no better description for
our concern—then we must turn
to ecologists, for that is their com-
We will agree that science is not
the only mode of perception—
that the poet, painter, playwright
and author can often reveal in
metaphor what science is unable to
demonstrate. But if we seek a work-
man’s creed which approximates
reality and can be used as a model
of the world and ourselves, then
science does provide the best evi-
dence. (McHarg 1969, 29)
Early examples of this category
include Wallace-McHarg Associates’
Plan for the Valleys north of Baltimore,
and projects led by Ian McHarg
and outlined in Design with Nature
(Wallace-McHarg Associates l964;
McHarg 1969). It also includes a
variety of landscape and visual assess-
ment projects, such as Ervin Zube’s
visual analysis of the Virgin Islands
and his Inventory and Interpretation of
Selected Resources of the Island of Nan-
tucket (Zube l966). In recent years
landscape analysis and planning has
increased with increased urbaniza-
tion, loss of farmland, and environ-
mental degradation. These factors
have led to a marked rise in public
sensitivity about the environment
and a plethora of private and public
commissions, agencies, and pro-
grams to regulate, control, and en-
hance the environment.
However, dependence on
public policy has created dilemmas
for landscape analysts as diminished
funds for government programs and
the increasing privatization of many
national and state parks has intro-
duced a new era of entrepreneurial
partnerships. These partnerships of-
ten combine landscape analysis with
proposals for development that draw
from other approaches, such as de-
sign as synthesis and ecological de-
sign. An example is the redesign by
Hargreaves Associates of approxi-
mately 1500 acres of national park
land along the tree-covered hills of
the San Francisco coastline. Through
this project, a former US Army post is
refashioned to include a golf course,
a Public Health Service, a conference
center, a national cemetery, a visitor
center, and a residential neighbor-
hood (Machotka 2000).
While landscape analysts are
frequently in a position to assume a
powerful professional role, this has
on occasion caused criticism, for ex-
ample when their institutional work
has raised tensions with longstanding
residents and landowners (Michaels
et al. l999). By and large, however,
landscape planners have enjoyed ex-
tended opportunities for long-term
project work (given their relative
freedom from the vicissitudes of the
private market), collaboration with
like-minded environmental agencies,
secure funding, and a growing body
of practical knowledge.
Plural Design. This is the land-
scape architectural equivalent of the
advocacy and progressive planning
traditions, and of social architecture.
Plural design among landscape archi-
tects is concerned mostly with adapt-
ing mainstream design styles to local
situations, and giving users a voice in
decision making, often working over
several years to ensure implementa-
tion of a project. This may also in-
clude locating funding and finding
ways to maintain projects in poor
communities. The approach assumes
that users can be given power over
their own environments, and ad-
dresses larger issues of inequality by
dealing with immediate needs. It is
also an attempt to empower residents
in small ways through increased
knowledge about their environment,
thus indicating a different concep-
tion of expertise from other forms of
landscape architecture. Randolph
Hester (1989, 1990) summarizes the
key elements of this approach based
on his study of people working in the
area of what he calls “community
This sample of community design-
ers has a rather unified, shared
vision of their work. They charac-
terize it as the planning and cre-
ation of everyday environments
for people who have little access
to design resources. The client is
typically a group including minor-
ities, the very old and very young,
or the poor oppressed by some en-
vironmental inequity. The goals
of their work are to create incre-
mental environmental justice and
to empower their clients. The pro-
cess is participatory, and often in-
volves action at the policy level as
well as the site design level . . . .
...they believe that their work
enhances a sense of community,
helps overcome environmental
anomie, educates the community
designer and the client, increases
self-esteem of the citizen partici-
pants, and shares the joy of creat-
ing environments. (Hester 1988,
136 137)
46 Landscape Journal
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 46
This kind of practice can be lo-
cated in private firms, voluntary net-
works, non-profit groups, and univer-
sity design centers and workshops,
although these are typically outnum-
bered by those in planning and archi-
tecture (see Forsyth et al. 1999, 2000
for reviews of service learning in
landscape architecture and design
more generally) (see Figure 4).
Noteworthy examples from
Landscape Architecture magazine in-
clude Mohammed Nuru’s work with
the San Francisco League of Urban
Gardeners (SLUG) in the early l990s.
Nuru has created a staff of 100 work-
ers and a budget of $6 million to
administer programs for habitat
restoration, marketing compost and
soil products, and “adopt a sidewalk
programs, while employing welfare
recipients to work full time (Owens-
Viani 2000). Another example was
the work of Balmori Associates, New
Haven, in participating with the low-
income Dixwell neighborhood be-
fore drawing up the Master Plan for
Farmington Canal, a linear park
through neighborhood land (Lang-
don 1995). A third example was the
work of Barrio Planners in East Los
Angeles, where Frank Villalobos com-
bined his landscape architectural
practice with campaigns for environ-
mental justice in East Los Angeles.
Through active work in local citizens’
groups, Villalobos prevented the re-
location of two incinerators and a
prison to East Los Angeles neighbor-
hoods (Stein l992). Also in East Los
Angeles, Achva Stein’s 1995 design
for Uhuru Gardens was a response to
local preferences with a mini-urban
forest, a freedom tree, outdoor in-
struction areas, a solar office and
community garden, a marketplace to
sell produce, and an African forest
area with pond.
Randolph Hester has been the
profession’s most active spokesperson
over the last three decades, dedicat-
ing his career to community design,
community participation, and design
solutions that counter mainstream
practice (Hester 1985, 1990; Mack
1990; McCormick 1992; Thompson
The rewards of plural design
have been the experience of hands-
on community work and the aware-
Crewe and Forsyth 47
Figure 4. Plural Design: YouthRap Garden, Holyoke, Massachusetts. Designers: YouthRap
youth group participants, Urban Places Project with U.Mass landscape architecture
planting design class, and other community members. Photo: UPP—Patricia McGirr,
Ann Forsyth, Henry Lu, used by permission.
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 47
ness of benefits achieved. Also, for
many there has been the opportunity
to be innovative and resourceful.
Landscape architects practicing in
this way have recourse to a number
of local or national organizations,
such as the Association for Commu-
nity Design, and many organic gar-
dening or urban gardening networks.
However, plural design has typically
included some time consuming pro-
cesses, such as training people in
basic landscape and communication
skills, or engaging in prolonged rela-
tionships with local administrations
to gain funding.
Ecological Design. The category
we have called “ecological design” in-
cludes landscape architects working
in a variety of capacities and scales
for government, corporate, and
private clients on the restoration and
enhancement of the existing environ-
ment. Work ranges from erosion con-
trol, water quality control, wetland
restoration, and reforestation to a
variety of innovative building tech-
niques such as straw bale, rammed
earth, or adobe. Like landscape ana-
lysts, these designers draw on natural
science research, often combining
this with specialized horticultural
and building techniques. Like the
landscape analysts, ecological design-
ers have a commitment to the larger
natural world, either intrinsically or
because protecting it will protect
humans. As in the case of landscape
planning and analysis, recent envi-
ronmental degradation has accel-
erated the demand for ecological
design. However, unlike landscape
analysis, ecological designers’ work
on specific design problems typically
results in altering the landscape. This
means that the scale of the projects is
often substantially smaller than the
scale of problems taken on by land-
scape analysts, and there is some em-
phasis on creating the new. As Lyle
To generate deep form requires a
rational understanding of natural
systems in combination with intu-
itive imagery, and thus a design
process that combines high levels
of both analytical and creative
thinking. . . .
What I propose then is that we
take the underlying complex and
elegant ecosystematic order of
nature as the essential and fund-
amental inspiration for design.
Too often, landscape architects
have ignored the inspiration for
creativity offered by natural pro-
cesses and have chosen instead to
view “ecological factors” as con-
straints on creativity. Too often,
too, they have responded to nature
by shaping pale imitations of her
forms in the picturesque tradition
and in doing so have produced
shallow form. (Lyle 1991, 40)
Projects are highly site specific,
often drawing on some unique eco-
logical situation. Recent examples in
Landscape Architecture include experi-
menting with salt-resistant plants to
create windbreaks for Rhode Island
garden (Hammatt 2000b), sod roofs
for a local Connecticut museum as a
means to control storm water and
insulation (Thompson 2000), and a
number of erosion and water protec-
tion projects. It should be noted that
state and local parks and recreation
departments are routinely engaged in
erosion control, wetland restoration,
and other environmental activities
nationwide, though these are not
often publicized (see Figure 5).
Given the concern to promote
environmental stability, there is a
strong emphasis on public education,
as may be seen by the proliferation of
handbooks, design guidelines, and
other material for public use. An
indication of educational concerns
might also be seen in the number of
ecological schoolyards, visitor cen-
ters, and educational trails featured
in Landscape Architecture, notably de-
signed to teach students about eco-
systems. These included the Cesar
Chavez Elementary School in San
Francisco, the La Conte Elementary
School in Berkeley, and the Crestview
School in Boulder, all of which recre-
ated natural habitats (Danks 2000).
Recently, work about sustainability
has encouraged collaboration be-
tween ethnic communities searching
for ethnic-based solutions to environ-
mental problems, creating some over-
lap with plural design.
Since work in this category is
often highly project specific, drawing
on local habitats and building tech-
niques, the range of work is often
limited in terms of place, and in spite
of the desire for education and pros-
elytization, expertise does not easily
transfer. It is a further disadvantage
that the sheer innovation of ecologi-
cal design often makes it unaccept-
able to the public at large, and even
colleagues practicing design as syn-
thesis or cultivated expression, whose
work displays a more manicured
character (Mozingo l997). Moreover,
tensions can often develop between
market imperatives and ecological
needs. However, an advantage is the
increasing funding opportunities for
ecological design, and the fact that
ecological design work can be highly
publishable in journals and maga-
zines beyond the profession.
Spiritual Landscapes. This ap-
proach sees the environment as a
place of healing and transcendence
(Wasserman 1998; Steinitz 1995,
191). Landscape architects working
for private and government clients
have with increasing frequency in re-
cent decades created memorials, sen-
sory gardens, and meditation court-
yards for a variety of groups and
situations, drawing on a range of
theologies, religions, and medic-
inal lore. While related to other
approaches, such as cultivated ex-
pression and ecological design, these
“spiritual” landscapes have an overall
aim that is far different from other
designs. Here the connection be-
tween humans and the natural world
is emphasized in ways that go beyond
the common professional concerns
to re-establish spiritual and emo-
tional connections between humans
and nature. Of all the design profes-
sions, landscape architects have a
unique capacity to make this connec-
tion, particularly in their sensitivity to
growth and change. As Wasserman
describes in an analysis of memorial
Plants symbolize hope and re-
generation. They also clarify the
cycles and patterns of life, death,
and rebirth. Seasonally, this hap-
pens with tree foliage emerging,
dropping, and re-emerging.
48 Landscape Journal
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 48
Changing colors of leaves and
flowers animate a memorial and
provide healing and comforting
properties. (Wasserman 1998, 54)
Also noteworthy is the main-
stream character of this approach in
the U.S. In spite of the introspective
subject matter, noteworthy profes-
sionals engage in such practices, and
projects are often widely publicized.
In dealing with profound and im-
portant issues like grief, perception,
memory, and sensual experience,
landscape architects have found new
ways of being accessible to a broader
public (see Figure 6).
The recent design for the
Oklahoma City National Memorial
by the Butzer Design Partnership fol-
lows a long line of Holocaust and war
memorials, which have arguably ac-
celerated since the noteworthy Viet-
nam War Memorial in Washington
DC, and Jellicoe’s Kennedy Memorial
in Runnymede, England. The Okla-
homa City monument is a composite
site consisting of a Memorial Center,
a museum and visitors’ center, and
an adjacent Oklahoma City Memorial
Institute for the Prevention of Terror-
ism and Violence (O’Connell 2001).
Work was awarded through a nation-
wide competition attracting 624 en-
tries, and was adjudicated by land-
scape architects Richard Haag and
Ignacio Bunster-Ossa, among others.
The design combines a theme of
mourning with national and religious
symbolism. A comparable recent
project is Michael Boland’s AIDS -
Garden in the Golden Gate Park,
San Francisco (Cooper Marcus 2000).
Comparable, though less celebrated,
are a number of spiritual retreats and
meditation centers throughout the
country. These centers include a spir-
itual retreat in Oberlin, Ohio, which
consists of 20 acres of meditational
and ceremonial spaces for spiritual
groups. Another such center is the
Shalom Farm, a retreat for rural min-
istry in southwestern Minnesota in
which farmland is regenerated in a
kind of spiritual rebirth, using eco-
logical design principles explored by
John Lyle (Hammatt 2000c). These
introspective retreats frequently man-
ifest a holistic approach, drawing
on Eastern and other traditional
philosophies, and using earth, water,
and fire symbolism.
Landscape architects have
welcomed projects of this kind for
many reasons. Work draws on skills
uniquely suited to landscape archi-
tecture (not to be shared with neigh-
boring disciplines), expressing the
fuller ambitions of well-known writers
in the field such as Jellicoe (1993),
Newton (1971), and Simonds (1961).
This work does not overtly appear to
compromise professional integrity
with market imperatives. In addition,
the work provides unusual opportu-
nity for a free range of creativity,
as it frequently offers protected and
sequestered settings, while drawing
on rich historic and religious asso-
Part 3:
Implications of the Landscapes Typology
Since its early beginnings in
the U.S., the field of landscape archi-
tecture has developed a rich practice
with a number of distinctive ap-
proaches, together exploring a range
of issues and concerns. We believe
the next step is for the profession to
think systematically about that prac-
tice, and that a conceptual frame-
work such as landSCAPES can pro-
vide a basis for constructive analysis.
Such a framework might also help
chart out areas requiring reflection
or research, direct the education of
landscape architects towards distinc-
tion in specific skills, and make pro-
fessionals more effective players in
the political arena.
Table 1 lays out the eight di-
mensions we used to evolve the land-
SCAPES typology: (1) goals, (2) pro-
cess, (3) client or audience, (4) scale,
(5) knowledge base, (6) ethics, (7) na-
ture, and (8) power. We found great
differences in the way practitioners
approached these dimensions. For
instance, a process may vary from a for-
malized sequence of steps used by
analysts, to the looser and more in-
clusive process of those practicing
design as synthesis, to the still looser
and more iterative process employed
by plural designers. Clients may vary
from government bodies typically
sponsoring large-scale projects, to
Crewe and Forsyth 49
Figure 5. Ecological Design—Prairie Waterway, Park Place, Farmington, Minnesota.
Designers: Balmori Associates with Paul Barten, Hydrologist, in collaboration with the
Design Center for American Urban Landscape. Photo: Frank Fitzgerald, Collection of
Design Center for American Urban Landscape, used by permission.
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 49
small non-profit organizations seek-
ing counter-cultural landscapes, to
the users who determine plural de-
sign, to the future and often-unknown
clients of ecological designers. Knowl-
edge is viewed differently again. While
landscape analysts and ecological de-
signers may engage intensively with
ecological science, other profession-
als may be forced to make partial
explorations into related fields and
even to make compromises in order
to get their work done on time. Criti-
cal knowledge in plural design, on
the other hand, may be gleaned from
users themselves. Perceptions of the
landscape may differ again with ap-
proach. For some, nature is intrinsi-
cally valuable, while for others it is
asetting for human interaction. Proj-
ect scale (always critical for landscape
architects given the huge range in
scope) can crucially affect profession-
als’ relation to their design, as the
limited space of much high-style proj-
ects may allow a level of fine-grained
detailing that is impossible at the re-
gional scale
This analysis of approaches re-
veals some basic dilemmas within the
profession. Of all the approaches,
plural design alone addresses the
role of clients and users in a complex
way, aggressively raising questions
about user involvement and the
broader participation of the socially
or locationally disadvantaged. This is
not to say that landscape architects
show no ethical concern. On the con-
trary, in regard to ethics, landscape
architects reveal they have given
much thought to the value of their
work in relation to the natural envi-
ronment, and are guided by defini-
tions of stewardship as laid out dur-
ing the profession’s founding years.
This is exemplified by Jellicoe’s state-
ment that “Landscape design is the
most comprehensive of the arts . . .
the art of the whole of man’s envir-
onment” (Spens l992, 273), and by
Newton’s definition of the field as the
art “. . . of arranging land, together
with the spaces and objects upon it,
for safe, efficient, healthful, pleasant
human use” (Newton l971, 3). A pow-
erful interest reinforcing this belief
among professionals lies in the char-
acter of the land itself, often drawing
on deep ecology or the visual charac-
ter of landscape.
While there has been an overall
tendency among landscape architects
to focus on this stewardship role as a
way of explaining current practice
and representing the profession to
the wider world, we suggest some re-
thinking. Politically, landscape archi-
tects have often been forced to seek
out the powerful to promote and sub-
sidize their work, and have not shown
themselves specifically concerned
with the disadvantaged. This focus
contrasts with related fields that con-
sider themselves serving the public
interest in an active political arena.
As landscape architects undertake
50 Landscape Journal
Figure 6. Spiritual Landscapes: Healing Garden: Good Samaritan Regional Medical
Center, Phoenix, Arizona. Designed in l996 by Christie Ten Eyck. Photo: Katherine
W221LJ_ch4 4/11/03 4:31 PM Page 50
more complex work in the public
realm, we suggest all approaches pay
attention to who is collaborating, who
is using their work, and what long-
term political issues are being consid-
ered. Debates within the profession
about issues of political power could
make landscape architects more for-
midable players in a political arena,
and would help develop a critique
whereby the profession could expand
its horizons.
Among the approaches we iden-
tified, those practicing cultivated ex-
pression embody the image of land-
scape architecture to the wider
public. Works by well-known prac-
titioners such as Kiley and Halprin,
and their present-day counterparts
such as Olin, are often the most
memorable, the most frequently writ-
ten about, the most photographed,
and the most taught to students.
Their works are often the best pre-
served over time and the least subject
to the vicissitudes of urban change.
Yet ironically, our analysis pointed to
some radical differences between
these practitioners and the rest. Most
professionals are battered by rapid
change, burgeoning development,
significant resource constraints, and
political cross-currents throughout
all stages of their work. This raises
key questions of how a wider range
of landscape architecture practice
might be effectively represented so
that the profession can become more
varied and relevant? How can land-
scape architecture education be ad-
justed to teach the important skills
needed in approaches other than
cultivated expression?
Generally, a study of the strate-
gies, knowledge, and beliefs of land-
scape architects points to great
opportunities at the present time.
There is an urgent need today for
those practicing design as synthesis,
given their capacity to resolve contra-
dictions in urban and rural environ-
ments and to create positive holistic
solutions. As U.S. populations
migrate in into growing cities and
towns, new environments are created
with glaring contradictions, which
need to be solved. The innumerable
small towns and sprawling suburbs
searching a sense of history and iden-
tity, demand the skills of landscape
architects of this kind. Ethnic groups
or dispersed cultural groups seeking
a visible focus; complex environ-
ments grappling with seemingly in-
compatible living arrangements; all
offer numerous opportunities for the
skills of landscape architecture. This
synthesis might be carried even fur-
ther to include counter-cultural eco-
logical and social elements hitherto
not part of the range of landscape ar-
chitectural work. Design as synthesis
could itself draw from the experience
of plural design in this engagement
with diversity.
In the field of landscape analy-
sis, there was little representation in
Landscape Architecture of the extensive
work done in the U.S., as has been
noted. However, the mention of
George Hargreaves Associates’
modification of a national park in
San Francisco drew attention to a
changing predicament for those
practicing landscape analysis, par-
ticularly those in government work,
namely the privatization of national
park lands, and their adaptation to
new concerns and claims. Clearly this
calls for a broadening of the range of
analysts’ work, to continue the same
commitment to broad ecological
goals while accommodating chang-
ing circumstances and integrating
more extensive design work.
The two categories most
in need of recognition and main-
streaming were plural and ecological
design. Both have the strengths and
rewards of their strong local base, yet
both suffer limitations. While plural
design brings the rewards of interac-
tion with a community, it often chal-
lenges practitioners’ political skills.
Their engagement with marginalized
populations also often excludes this
approach from the professional
mainstream. However, the growing
range of non-profit organizations,
particularly in the field of urban gar-
dening, present opportunities for
networking and empowerment across
the country. Perhaps a similar net-
work is available to those practicing
ecological design? We believe that
some targeted communication be-
tween these two categories and the
profession as a whole might help
mainstream both groups: landscape
analysts might systematically incorpo-
rate the work of ecologists into their
guidelines; all groups might adopt ac-
cumulated knowledge from those
practicing plural design.
Finally, the high visibility of the
work in our category of spiritual de-
sign suggests the opportunity for pro-
fessionals to make real contributions
to issues of meaning and faith. This
provides opportunity to raise the
question: Does the profession merely
draw from theology and psychology
or does it have potential to make last-
ing contributions to the society at
Concluding Thoughts
Our survey also showed that
landscape architects are certainly re-
flecting about their practice in the ar-
eas of education, ethnic and cultural
diversity, and the scope of profes-
sional work. However, these current
debates do not preempt the need for
scrutiny of existing landscape archi-
tecture approaches and the assump-
tions motivating them.
The landSCAPES typology pro-
vides a productive, if preliminary, way
of understanding and explaining
landscape architecture practice. It
potentially makes explicit six quite
different paths to excellence in the
field. While it is possible to examine
the world of landscape architecture
from the viewpoint of only one ap-
proach, this typology provides a lan-
guage for understanding and valuing
other ways of doing landscape archi-
tecture. It exposes underlying differ-
ences, points to areas of potential
cross-fertilization and dialogue, and
creates a framework for asking signif-
icant questions about the profession.
It points to areas where education
can be reformulated to value differ-
ent paths in practice. Hopefully, it
can provoke both reflection and
transformation within the field.
Thanks to Patricia McGirr for extremely
thoughtful comments on an earlier draft—
some concluding questions are hers.
Crewe and Forsyth 51
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1. The authors contributed equally to this
2. We came up with the categories and then
searched for a word that they might fit—and
S.C.A.P.E.S. emerged.
3. We use the term “theory” in this paper
somewhat differently from its use in the term
“design theory” or design philosophy, where it
denotes a launching pad for inspiration rather
than a way of explaining events (see discussion
in Riley 1990). Some design writers such as
Rappoport distinguish between theories (ex-
planatory), models (predictive), and frame-
works (organizing) (quoted without citation in
Steinitz 1995, 200; Riley 1990, 49). While this
distinction may be useful at times, in fact theo-
ries of the kind that we are talking about are
involved in all three concepts. Models are
based on theories and can also help refine
them, and frameworks are a kind of theory
explaining through organizing.
4. Planning theory as a field is wider than
these approaches and includes such areas as
analyses of the role of planning in relation to
government and the private sector, and plan-
ning ethics. Sources for this discussion include
Bolan (1967); Etzioni (1967); Faludi (1973);
Davidoff (1965); Lawrence (2000); Yiftachel
(1989); Fainstein (2000); Friedmann (1987);
Briassoulis (1989); Forester (1989); Hudson
(1976); and Healey (1997).
5. Planners do have the equivalent of the
landscape architects’ stylistic classification (in
terms of movements within planning, such as
garden cities, city beautiful, urban sustainabil-
ity, decentralizations, or urban containment)
often conceptualized as “substantive” theory,
theories of good urban form, or the good urban
plan debate (Yiftachel 1989, 27; Hall 1996;
Forsyth 1997). This kind of classification of
style has occurred at the general scale of the
broad approaches physical planning in the
previous sentence and for approaches to or
styles of particular types of plans. For example
Kaiser and Godschalk (1995) concluded that
there have been five main types of land use
plans in the U. S. over the past 50 years that
would be equivalent to different schools of
modernist garden design in landscape archi-
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Classification Plans, (3) Verbal Policy Plans,
(4) Development Management Plans, and
(5) Hybrids.
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ments of rational and blueprint planning, but
more contemporary practice has changed with
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... Communities experience these landscapes more selectively and less frequently, but they are sought after and cherished by those who recognize them as special places. Crewe and Forsyth (2003) described them as "the work of a relatively few high-profile practitioners, displaying a high degree of artistic attainment. These projects are typically imageable and invite acclaim for their artistic merits. ...
... Scholarship about each type of landscape has used different methods and modes of communication (Crewe & Forsyth, 2003;Deming & Swaffield, 2011), and these differences have contributed to "two cultures" mischaracterizations, fragmentation, and conflicts within landscape architecture scholarship. Commonplace landscapes currently are more widely understood as objects of scientific inquiry, and unique landscapes are more widely understood as objects of critical reflection. ...
... Such information seldom allows for controlled comparison with other landscapes or assessment over time (Felson & Pickett, 2005). For example, to represent the range of landscape architecture practice, Crewe and Forsyth (2003) used work selected for publication in Landscape Architecture magazine, noting that certain types of work were underrepresented in the publisher's choices. Kullmann (2016) employed recent design competition prizes and professional magazine covers as data for his analysis of landscape-based transdisciplinary practice. ...
... Value-related studies create awareness among professionals to reflect on aspects of their work that are often implicit or invisible (Crewe and Forsyth, 2003;Deming, 2015). Several studies focus on perceptions, such as Ö zgüner et al. (2007) in the United Kingdom (UK), who identified fields of debate based on professionals' perceived value of naturalistic landscapes. ...
... A recent study considered the "environmental world views" of urban design professionals (Wallhagen and Magnusson, 2017). Some studies have focused on the type of work design professionals do, such as Crewe and Forsyth (2003), who reviewed the approaches that expressed the core values of landscape architects in the USA; Stoffberg and Hindes (in Stoffberg, Hindes and Müller, 2012), who identified trends in the local landscape architectural design industry before and after democracy in South Africa; and Breed et al. (2015), who associated the type of projects done by landscape designers with the four groups of ecosystem services. Only two sources were identified that focused pertinently on professionals' values. ...
... Although some importance was also given to aesthetics, recreation and − to a lesser degree − therapeutic value, intrinsic and spiritual values of the landscape were not expressed as part of designers' considerations in the built environment. In contrast, intrinsic environmental values were reflected in the Global North when Crewe and Forsyth (2003) identified ethical motivations for different approaches to landscape design. ...
Built environment design professionals balance competing requirements for human comfort, aesthetics and ecological integrity in their projects. Among them, landscape designers play an important role in optimising the benefits derived from urban green spaces. This study critically considers value dimensions and domains that impinge on professionals’ decision making and environmental values that are applicable to built environment design. It specifically identifies the dominant group-based value domains and environmental values in local practice and examines how landscape designers determine the relative importance of competing values in urban South Africa. The study made use of semi-structured interviews with long-standing figures in the industry. The findings indicate that the political change, the economy and the varied climate and landscape character are contextual influences that strongly shape regional social constructions of urban nature. These constructions emphasise instrumental utility value that juxtapose fundamental values and overshadow less urgent eudemonistic and intrinsic environmental values. In the design process, designers trade off artistic pursuits for instrumental values, with implications for aesthetics and quality. The contextual influences undermine value pluralism. Current trade-offs arguably perpetuate a local legacy of the uneven distribution of quality green spaces. Promisingly, designers show environmental concern and value for sustainability, indigenous plants, utility, quality and safety. The potential for designers to strengthen bonds with urban nature lies in the creation of aesthetic experiences that build on existing local affinities to landscape character and indigenous species. Professional bodies have an important task to assist built environment designers in creating cities that preserve human-nature relationships.
... To turn the project's objectives into reality, the steering group often collaborates with a designer or a team of designers (Loudon, 1843;Crewe and Forsyth, 2003). They noted that, depending on the specific needs of each project, the number and composition of the design team could include: ...
Full-text available
Botanical gardens are extremely important institutions that safeguard the environment from ever-increasing environmental concerns, educate people about environmental issues, provision of recreational opportunities, conducting of various research and conservations. Their mission is to keep documented collections of living plants for scientific research, conservation, display, and education, but this may vary depending on the resources available and the special interests pursued at each garden. Botanists and gardeners are typically on the staff. Currently, about 3,765 botanical gardens conserve approximately 30% of the species. A wide and distinctive collection of living plants serves as a foundation for research and modern taxonomic studies in morphology, ecology, genetics, systematics, and evolution in the twenty-first-century botanical garden. Furthermore, botanical gardens provide germplasm for the hybridization of species, which allows for the improvement of economically important varieties of flowers, fruits, and vegetable plants. Prior to the establishment of the botanical garden, important components such as site selection, feasibility study, defined objectives, vision and mission, detailed design, construction specifications, theme establishment, weeds and pest control links, professional experts, and mode of operation must be considered. This review determines a brief description of the botanical garden, the conditions for establishment, and its role in plant and habitat protection.
... In some way, then, we take a first step towards establishing an NbS typology for Smart Cities. Crewe and Forsyth (2003) consider typology for landscape architecture as classifications that have both functional and symbolic dimensions. In our work, the NbS typology function would be sustainable urban water management, while the symbolic dimensions would include scale, connectivity, and familiarity. ...
Full-text available
A Research through Designing approach was used to explore nature-based solutions (NbS) for flood management at the fluvial (regional) and pluvial (local) scales as part of a Smart District visioning study in a peri-urban area north of Bangkok, Thailand. The NbS visions were informed by community surveys (total n = 770) as well as in-depth, semi-structured interviews with community leaders and key stakeholders representing private sector business. Both fluvial and pluvial flooding commonly occur in the study area and the cost of damage incurred by individuals generally exceeds aid remuneration. The surveys revealed that flood insurance was not widely used as a form of resiliency to flood conditions. Furthermore, survey participants generally considered common space and green space unsatisfactory and inadequate to meet community needs. In light of these survey responses, example NbS visions were developed to address community concerns and promote well-being, while concurrently providing resiliency and improved ecosystem services through connectivity of blue and greenscapes. This case study provides a novel linkage between the concepts of NbS, Research through Designing, and Smart City/District, in exploring sustainable and resilient approaches to flood management in the context of tropical, Global South development and also provides a first step towards developing an NbS typology.
... It engages participants in a collaborative process for environmental change. Particularly in large-scale landscape projects, participatory landscape design arouses a sense of ownership that supports the sustainability of the space (Bartlett, 2014;Crewe and Forsyth, 2003). ...
Full-text available
For a while, today's modern people have been struggling with various problems which threaten their health including climate change, water and food scarcities, depression etc. Also, most recently, they have been faced with a more complicated-unfamiliar problem, pandemic. And in the future, what kind of different problems to be faced to threaten their health cannot be predicted. This situation underlines boldly the obligation to support people health before then it has been lost. And, at the point of supporting health, the phenomenon of nature emerges. Nature offers low-cost, non-intrusive solutions for human health and well-being, and the landscape architecture profession also plays an important role in enhancing the relationship with nature. Today, many studies are emphasizing the positive effects of exposure to nature on health and the relationship between nature and health is generally explained within the scope of various theories put forward by environmental psychology. Within the scope of this study, initially, the relationship between nature and health is reviewed in the context of theories put forward by environmental psychology. Subsequently, suggestions are offered regarding the design processes, assessing design approaches supporting health in the aspect of landscape architecture which has an important role to increase the interaction with nature.
... Conventional playgrounds, even newly constructed ones, are often planted with a few species and minimally maintained, providing an environment that offers little ecological benefits or responsiveness to children's overall long-term development [25]. Instead, systematic planning for and ecological design of playscapes could increase habitat quality and restore overused or neglected landscapes [26]. ...
Full-text available
Children are often the most disadvantaged cohort during miserable situations of natural disaster, economic crisis, and environmental degradation. Meanwhile, children's play is increasingly controlled, costly, and standardized with engineered structures and surfaces rather than in-fused with natural processes and organic materials. Access to nature-based playscapes in under-served neighborhoods is extremely limited, impacted by disparities of race, class, and gender. In these contexts, neglected vacant lots and streets and related interstitial spaces can be redesigned as playscapes that support active, engaged, meaningful, and socially interactive play. Our study addresses the ample opportunity to re-engage kids and city nature in underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Methodologically, we balance systemic GIS spatial data approaches with informal and experiential-or tacit-site-based analyses. This mixed-methods approach helps identify local patterns of insecurity, children's circulation, and natural resource possibilities. Finally, a play network with eight playscape themes is revealed as an emergent pattern that we termed green play infrastructure. These themes provide examples of activities and opportunities for future programs that fit their surrounding context. The mixed-methods approach fills a gap in children's play literature and illustrates how green play infrastructure can serve as a key strategy in improving children's lives in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
... It engages participants in a collaborative process for environmental change. Particularly in large-scale landscape projects, participatory landscape design arouses a sense of ownership that supports the sustainability of the space (Bartlett, 2014;Crewe and Forsyth, 2003). ...
... In addition, the aging of the population results in greater numbers of older adults susceptible to physical and cognitive decline (Manini, 2009;Nicholas et al., 2019). HLs provide a way for citizens or patients to re-establish spiritual and emotional connections with nature (Crewe and Forsyth, 2003;Scartazza et al., 2020). The therapeutic effects of horticulture on the elderly have been widely investigated (Ferrini, 2003;Beard and Bloom, 2015;Lai et al., 2018), and HL therapy has played a unique role in promoting improvement in physical and mental diseases (e.g., Alzheimer's disease and dementia) of the elderly and improving their quality of life (Whear et al., 2014;Zhao and Yue, 2017). ...
The scientific evaluation system of plants is an important premise in the design of healing landscapes (HLs) for improving the quality of life of the elderly. Based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), the weights of the HL evaluation indicators for the elderly were calculated, and the comprehensive values of 150 species of plants in northern China were evaluated using this model. The results showed the following: (1) The model selected 16 representative and objective indicators as the sub-criteria level; (2) The results of the relative weights of the vector of criteria level to the focus level were as follows: Psychological Rehabilitation C1 (0.5537) > Physiological Rehabilitation C2 (0.2570) > Plant Scenery C3 (0.1893); (3) The comprehensive evaluation value results showed that the values of 86 plants were higher than the standard value that was suggested to be applied in HL for older adults in northern China. Of these plants, 55 species have superior values for application while 31 species have high values. The values of a further 64 plants were lower than the standard value, among which 41 species had a general application value, while 23 species should be selectively applied. (4) Using a questionnaire survey, the elderly participants expressed high preferences for the top 55 species of plants, and the favorite characteristics of the plants for the elderly included well-known traditional Chinese flowers with large and rich colors, as well as edible flowers. Factors that require consideration in planting designs, including the climatic conditions, the physiological and psychological characteristics of the elderly, cultural aspects of the plants, the relationship between the plant and five senses, and horticultural therapy activities, are discussed. This evaluation of HL plants provides a theoretical basis for plant selection in landscape design in nursing institutions.
In Chap. 1, I indicated how paradigms and theories influence and enable green and ecological infrastructure projects, particularly within the framing of a grey epistemology. In this chapter, I will expand on the role and functioning of paradigms and theories from the philosophy of the natural and social sciences. Paradigms and theories are vital in generating knowledge, which, in turn, constitutes agency through policy development, recommendations and implementation. It is significant to note that the way we think of the world and surrounding situations, influences our actions. Paradigms and theories are part of an interdependent and nonlinear causal chain. Based on the role and importance of these cognitive instruments in the policy process, I have developed an analytical framework by utilising the meta-theoretical assumptions of five identified research paradigms, several theoretical perspectives, four causal mechanism types, and I also use the distinction between the grand and problem-solving theories. I have called this framework PULSE³, which stands for People Understanding and Living in a Sustained Environment. The cube (³) denotes three forces, namely, thinking, acting and change, the latter of which is omnipresent in society and the natural environment. I base PULSE³ on the argument that positivism, when employed as the sole paradigm by investigators, has difficulty investigating and explaining fundamental social processes that are manifested in ambiguities, paradoxes, uncertainties and contradictions. The purpose of PULSE³ is to generate a healthier appreciation of issues that are faced by policy-makers and practitioners. All in all, PULSE³ is an analytical tool that can be used to assist researchers and practitioners to investigate policies, plans, programmes and strategies and to gain a deeper understanding of issues and practices, based on their paradigmatic and theoretical foundations.
Some of the factors leading to an increase in public participation in the development of communities - a desire to find a personal landscape and the need for 'place-appropriate' development are discussed. The 12 steps are designed to illicit community responses and include listening, inventory, clarification of ideas, evaluation, and approval of projects by the community. The steps are illustrated through application to the city of Manteo, North Carolina. -R.Land*public participation*community responses*Manteo*North Carolina
A review of the sometimes conflicting theories of fine art avant-gardism provides a useful basis for examining recently designated “avant-garde” landscape architecture. We focus on the works and designers recently promoted as “avant-garde” or indicative of “new directions” rather than champion any one person or style. Although landscape architecture and fine art have separate and unequal histories, links between the two are implicit in an avant-garde label. Indeed this recent landscape architecture does express a more intensive, though selective, influence from the art world, particularly from earthwork and site-specific sculpture. However, historic and contemporary disparities between the two fields' artists, works, and contexts contribute to contemporary differences in intent and effect. The “avant-garde” designation appears increasingly fragile when “avant-garde” landscape architecture and early earthwork/site-specific art are compared. Such comparisons also raise questions about the respective powers and limitations of landscape architecture and fine art. However, independent of labels, this new landscape architecture merits attention on its own terms and can stimulate continued inquiry into the nature of good landscape architecture.
Traditionally landscape architecture education has used the design studio as the core of its curriculum in which students learn through the master-apprentice model. This paper discusses an alternative teaching model, community service learning, in which students learn from multiple sources while providing a service to disadvantaged communities. Based on the results of two undergraduate urban design studios that used the service learning model, a case study approach is used to evaluate the role of community service learning in low-income and ethnically-diverse neighborhoods. It argues that service learning studios can help landscape architecture students learn the skills necessary to work in an increasingly complex and multi-cultural context.
For more than two centuries, landscape design in Western culture has been considered a matter of creating visual imagery, usually divorced from any concept or understanding of natural process. This view has often resulted in landscape forms that lack roots in the earth and are therefore shallow in character. The ecological understanding developed over the past several decades makes it clear that in nature the landscape we see is the visible manifestation of underlying, ongoing processes. Form and process are inseparable. For landscape design to be truly meaningful, it should also give visible expression to the processes that shape the earth, thus making a connection between nature and human culture. Landscapes that accomplish this can be described as having deep forms.