The Landscape Guide

Landscape planning and urban design

Landscape planning 

"In town and in country there must be landscapes where we can walk in safety, pick fruit, cycle, work, sleep, swim, listen to the birds, bask in the sun, run through the trees and laze beside cool waters. Some should be busy; others solitary. Rivers should be prized out of their concrete coffins and foul ditches. Quarries should be planned as new landscapes. Forests should provide us with recreation, timber and wildlife habitats. Wastes should be used to build green hills. Routeways should be designed for all types of user, not just for motor vehicles. Old towns should be revitalised and new villages made. In growing food, farmers should conserve and remake the countryside. Buildings should stop behaving like spoilt brats: each should contribute to an urban or rural landscape. But what is a 'landscape'? In this website, the word is used to mean 'a good outdoor place': useful, beautiful, sustainable, productive and spiritually rewarding." [Tom Turner, from the Preface to the 1998 edition of Landscape Planning]. This and other online etexts can be found by following the navigation link: History and Theory > eBooks.

Urban design 

"In the history books, cities are 'founded', 'taken by storm' and 'razed to the ground'. They are objects, which may be owned, conquered - or planned in two dimensions. Real places are perceived and seen as landscapes, dependent on physical and mental points of view, with foregrounds and backgrounds always switching positions. Some are ephemeral; others comparatively permanent. In these plural times, the day of the singular town plan has surely passed away. Individuals, communities and social groups wish to plan their own worlds. A new age of planning is on the horizon. Different plans will be required for different purposes. We shall see more planning, but less control. The city of the future will be an infinite series of landscapes: psychological and physical, urban and rural, flowing apart and together. They will be mapped and planned for special purposes, with the results recorded in geographical information systems (GIS), which have the power to construct and retrieve innumerable plans, images and other records. Christopher Alexander was right: a city is not a tree. It is a landscape." [Tom Turner, from the preface to the 1996 edition of City as Landscape]. This and other online etexts can be found by following the navigation link: History and Theory > eBooks.

Christopher Alexander argued (top 2 diagrams)
that 'a city is not a tree', meaning that cities
should not be planned as hierarchical
tree-structures. The lower diagram was drawn
for an essay in which it is argued that cities
should be planned as landscapes: by relating
the lattice of 'Alexander patterns' to their context
(the landscape).