Landscape Design Theory RESOURCES: Design Objectives Ecology, Community, Delight, Archetypes, Design Methods, Structuralism & Design, Community Design, Single Tree Principle, Design with nature, Master Plans,
Googling for the definition of master plan suggests that the term is most commonly used in planning to mean 'an overall development concept' but I think the term comes from engineering. Naval architects, for example, need to produce drawings for each component and then an assembly drawing, or master plan, to show how all the components fit together. Used in this way, landscape archtects also produce 'master plans', to show how the component drawings produced by the engineers and architects on a large project fit together. But there are problems with the term:
The term Vision Plan implies that the plan is no more than a vision for the future. It has the drawback that 'visionary' is often used to mean 'unrealistically idealistic'
This term takes some of its current meaning from the 'concept cars' produced by automobile manufacturers to explain their idea of what they might make at some point in the future.
If it could command public acceptance, this would be the best term. But its use rests on acceptance of the word 'landscape' to mean 'a good place' or, as Tom Turner would put it 'a place where there is lanship between the people and the place'.
The humility of 'piecemeal planning' is attractive. But so is Daniel Burnham's advice: 'Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized, make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.' Evidently, Burnham had no hopes for his, or our, daughters and granddaughters.
If one accepts that design is a multi-layered procedure than the idea of Single Master Plan slips into the dust of history.
There was a single Master
Plan for the Titanic - a bad
precedent (Thomas Andrews
was the designer - and
went down with the ship).
The hands of the Master
A 'concept car' represents
a possible future