'Pays' -'Land'-'Yuan Lin'. The power of landscape (architecture) terms

D. Bruns, A. van den Brink

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


In order to continue building a common body of knowledge, landscape architecture researchers and practitioners must refer to the same fundamental concepts – particularly in those instances where different words are used to describe them. This paper puts the focus on ‘landscape’, probably the most important and, at the same time, most ambiguous of landscape architecture’s concepts. The emergence and implementation of the European Landscape Convention, ELC, has given rise to new discourses on ‘landscape’. Customarily, such discussions employ only one word, landscape, thus assuming a predominantly ‘Western View’. But there exist, even within Europe, several different connotations of ‘landscape’ and also different words to express these. How great the variety of such connotations might possibly be, and how many words are in use, world-wide, to describe ‘landscape concepts’ we have only just begun to grasp. This paper aspires to remind landscape architects of the richness that exists in the many different cultural concepts that relate to what we simply call ‘landscape’, suggesting that there is much work to be done for landscape architects to learn from each other and to ‘come to terms’ about their terms. In doing so, this paper suggests for landscape architecture to go beyond approaches that emphasise the physical and especially those that reduces landscape to measurable things. Landscape is also part of political, economic, social, cultural concepts, and it would be important to make use of their notions of landscape. Such notions help placing the emphasis on what people perceive and give value to in their surroundings, and how such perception might relate to common interest, to collective identity, and other concepts. By including the public’s views into the landscape discourse, there might be richness much greater even than is assumed by scholarly wisdom. The suggestion is to introduce this wealth into international communication, first within the field of landscape architecture, but also in the wider fields of landscape study and policy, including those considering preparations for an ‘International Landscape Convention’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECLAS 2012 Conference, 19-22 September 2012, Warsaw, Poland
EditorsI. Dymitryszyn, M. Kaczynska, G. Dr Maksymiuk
Place of PublicationWarsaw
PublisherWarsaw University of Life Sciences-SSGW
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventThe Power of Landscape, Warsaw, Poland -
Duration: 19 Sep 201222 Sep 2012


ConferenceThe Power of Landscape, Warsaw, Poland


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