Landscape Planning in a Nutshell


Landscape planning is a category of landscape architecture. Landscape planning is characterized as an operation, according to Erv Zube (1931-2002), concerned with the creation of landscaping among competing land uses while preserving natural processes and essential cultural and natural resources. Primary examples of landscape planning include park systems and greenways of the kind planned by Frederick Law Olmsted. Landscape designers prefer to work with investors who want construction work to be commissioned. Landscape architects examine large problems as well as aspects of projects that restrict design projects.

Landscape planners often work on projects that are geographically wide-ranging, include multiple land uses or many clients, or are carried out over a long period of time. As an example, one of the early reasons for a public request for landscape planning was the damage caused by unplanned mineral extraction.

Landscape Planning in Europe and in the US

Alberti (who was a humanist, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher and cryptographer of the Italian Renaissance; he epitomized the Man of the Renaissance) wrote about the need for markets and unique implementations for city squares to make the most of the space. This grew into the concept in North Europe that residential squares should be designed around green spaces. Place des Vosges was the first room of this sort. In Britain, residential squares were also built and their planning grew into the concept of integrating open public space (public parks within towns). With his plan for a park system in Boston – the famous Emerald Necklace – Frederick Law Olmsted gave impetus to this project. This idea was picked up by Patrick Abercrombie and incorporated into his great 1943-4 Open Space Plan for the County of London.

The plans of RWE – a multinational German Energy Company – in the wake of its mining operations and how they plan to use leftover detritus and soil in their re-cultivation efforts to restore the degraded habitats and landscapes created by open pit mines are an example of landscape planning in use (e.g. Garzweiler surface mine).

On the other hand, in the United States, along with urban planners, landscape architects offer landscape planning services based on the natural environment. But the US does not have a national land use planning policy, unlike Canada and Europe. Two prominent American landscape architects who also served as planners are Frederick Law Olmsted and Ian McHarg. McHarg’s work on overlay landscape planning led to Jack Dangermond’s creation of GIS and the founding of ESRI – an international supplier of geographic information system (GIS ) software, web GISand geodatabase management applications.


In different forms of legislation and policy papers, the principles of landscape planning are now included. The National Environmental Policy Act in America was inspired by Ian McHarg’s work on environmental impact assessment. The Federal Nature Conservation Act requires that landscape plans be drafted in Germany. The European Landscape Convention has wide-ranging consequences for the design and planning of the relationship between landscape and growth for the European Union as a whole. Significant projects for development are taking place in Asia, highlighting the need for good landscape planning. For instance, the Three Gorges Dam would have extensive effects on the landscape. They were planned to a degree, but future project monitoring is likely to show that better planning and design of the landscape would have been feasible.

Main Steps of Landscape Planning Process

  • Landscape Design Process:

    • Site analysis
    • Client analysis for the requirements
    • Pre-design analysis based on the client’s requirements
    • Design process
    • Final design to implement

The conventional planning process is a linear progression of activities. The common steps are:

    • Identification of problems and opportunities.
    • Establishment of goals.
    • Inventory and analysis of the biophysical environment.
    • Human community inventory and analysis.
    • Development of concepts and the selection of options.
    • Adoption of a plan.
    • Community involvement and education.
    • Detailed design.
    • Plan implementation.
    • Plan administration.

Landscape planning not always means an ecological planning method, for that it must be considered that “planning is a process that uses the scientific and technical information for considering and reaching consensus on a range of choices. Ecology is the study of the relationship of all living things, including people, to their biological and physical environments. Ecological planning then may be defined as the use of biophysical and sociocultural information to suggest opportunities and constraints for decision making about the use of landscape”. (Steiner, 1991) While the common steps are listed above, the process of Landscape planning is adaptable to many situations and is useful in many ways depending on the goals for which it is used.

See in the figure as an example of landscape planning process steps of Germany.

The measures for the individual natural resources and action areas shown in the detailed plans are summarized here. The multifunctionality of the measures is made clear by the spatial overlay.

Landscape Planning Impacts and Implications

In addition to more practical landscapes, the effects of proper implementation of landscape planning practices are minimal. It may also impact many facets of the setting and culture in which it is used to its ability for the better. While the main aim of landscape planning is for ecological reasons, when used effectively as a tool, it can have so much more effects.

  • Landscape Planning and Ecology

Landscape planning is primarily used for ecological purposes and works better when the least amount of disturbance of ecological influences from before the implementation has ever been implemented is the result of the planning process.

In this process, landscape planning can not only be used to retain the status of the natural climate, but can also be used to enhance aspects of historically underperforming habitats, such as biodiversity-enhancing architecture. Landscape planning, for example, may be used to establish new habitats for endangered species and to restore historically used or degraded land (such as old agricultural areas) for natural ecosystem expansion.

This also includes planning in order to reduce the environmental effects of the changes. A greater speed of regeneration for the habitats of disturbed spaces is possible with proper landscape planning.

  • Landscape Planning and Health

The beneficial healing effects of proper execution of designed landscapes are of great benefit, close to the effects of healing gardens. When individuals are exposed to nature, they will find that their general disposition has changed and that they are improving at an increased pace from stress and disease. Health within a metropolitan oriented setting may be dramatically enhanced over the unplanned alternative through the correct use of landscape design in terms of stress and recovery.

If landscape planning is used to better restore ecological systems that might have been displaced, it allows it possible to maintain recreational use of the environment while maintaining the systems for people to enjoy.

  • Landscape Planning and Use of other technologies in context

The advancement of GIS technologies, such as those developed by ESRI, is of great importance to the practice of planning the landscape. The use of assistive technology makes simple aggregation and study of the conditions and variables present in a landscape. You are able to address many of the questions about the landscape in question with the use of GIS technology.

For example, “how functional is this landscape?” or “to what extent do the factors outside of the site affect the planning that needs to be done?” The use of technology that is emerging with greater and greater precision has the potential to make sustainable projects simpler and more prevalent worldwide.



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