The Landscape Guide

3.15 Recommendations for the use of patterns in planning and design

Contents list

The full set of patterns required for outdoor planning and design depends on the nature of the proposals that are to be made. There is no finite set of "survey information' that can be assembled before starting work, and there is no one inescapable starting point for a design project. When making a new place, planners and designers must know what factors made the existing place, how places can be changed, and what makes people judge places as "good' or "bad'. Specialized vocabulary is required. Patterns can use words, diagrams, models and drawings to describe complex processes and qualities. The language will not be symbolic, like computer code, but nor will it be a predominantly spoken language. For planning and design, it is most likely to be diagrams supported by words.

Many patterns will be appreciated by the general population; others will be particular to special groups; others will be unique to individuals. Words provide a common currency with which to interrelate the different structural approaches to the design and analysis of place. Diagrams can have a similar role, and are more readily transformed into designs. Structures reside in the environment but they are visible only to people and animals who have reasons to look for them. Each situation can be analysed within different structural frameworks. Ideas lead to surveys, to analyses and to designs. Patterns help designers to handle the complexity of environmental design.

Patterns come from geometry, philosophy, animals (eg the zebra) and designers (eg William Morris) and human behaviour