Capitalising on multiplicity: an transdisciplinary systems approach to landscape research

B. Tress, G. Tress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


Different disciplines have landscape as the focal point of their research. They are successful in presenting new findings about landscapes within their specialization, but collaboration - and thus, transfer of knowledge across disciplinary boundaries - is seldom realized because a common approach that bridges the gaps between disciplines is missing. Instead, different landscape concepts exist side by side. Yet, cooperation is required to tackle the various environmental and social problems related tolandscapes. This paper provides an overview of the historical development of landscape concepts originating from different cultural and scientific trends, and presents a new complex concept of landscape, which is designed to enable transdisciplinary landscape research. The transdisciplinary landscape concept is based on five dimensions of landscapes: the spatial entity, the mental entity, the temporal dimension, the nexus of nature and culture, and the systemic properties of landscapes. In contrast to other approaches, it unites dimensions that are usually the domain of individual disciplines and makes it, thus, possible to capitalize on plurality in landscape research. The concept promotes landscape as the combination of the subsystems known as the geo-, bio- and noo-sphere, and is illustrated by the people-landscape interaction model. The concept can be applied to all human-landscape-related research, but is exemplified by two studies that have investigated the relationship between landscape and second-home tourism, and landscape and farming, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-157
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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