The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design: from EIA to EID
Chapter: Chapter 2 Landscape plans for public goods

Three types of landscape plan

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Landscape plans

Landescape plans should deal with environmental public goods As a lighthouse guides ships, plans for public goods should guide the process of environmental planning and design. Ships need to be safe; land dwellers have many objectives. The environmental public goods can be placed in three groups, akin to the Vitruvian objectives for the private goods to be obtained from architecture (commodity, firmness and delight). The simplest classification of the environmental public goods is Natural, Social, and Visual, but they can be classified in other ways. [Fig 2.9] The environmental public goods can be categorised. In Methods of Environmental impact assessment, Morris and Therivel use an extensive classification of environmental impacts: socio-economic, noise, traffic, landscape, archaeological and cultural, air and climate, soils and geology, water, terrestrial ecology, freshwater ecology and coastal ecology (Morris & Therivel, 1995). They pay less attention to the impacts of a development project on surrounding land uses. Environmental objectives are of vital concern to the community at large; they overlie and reach beyond the partisan interests of private landowners and private landusers; they tend to decay when not planned; they need not be depleted as consumption rises; they tend to improve when well planned; one cannot levy a charge for them; they are classic examples of public goods. The German Federal Nature Conservation Act of 1976 was a pioneering example of legislation to protect and enhance the environmental public goods (Schmid, 1989). The act requires the preparation of landscape plans which deal with three categories of public goods: Nature Conservation, Scenic Quality and Public Recreation.

The following types of landscape plan can assist in the creation and conservation of environmental public goods:


  1. Landform Plans: to protect and enhance a distinctive and convenient landform.
  2. Waterspace Plans: to provide space for water storage, water transport and water recreation.
  3. Habitat Plans: to protect and enhance the pattern of natural and semi-natural habitats.
  4. Air Plans: to provide fresh air, clean air and shelter.


  1. Alexander Plans: to show the archetypal patterns which should exist in a neighbourhood.
  2. Greenspace Plans: to provide public access to environmentally good space in urban and rural areas.
  3. Special Area Plans: to protect and create areas of special character.
  4. Recreation Plans: to increase opportunities for outdoor recreation: footpaths, bridleways, cycleways, campsites, food gathering places.
  5. Sustainability Plans: to make human life more sustainable, both in town and country.


  1. Scenic Plans: to protect and create good scenery and good views, both in town and country.
  2. Spatial Plans: to protect and create good spatial patterns.
  3. Skyline Plans: to protect and create good skylines.
  4. Urban Roofscape Contours: to give city roofscapes a distinctive shape. The above types of landscape plan are discussed at greater length in the remainder of this chapter and there are further examples of the plan-types in Part 2 of the book.