‘Research through designing’ in landscape architecture

S. Lenzholzer, I. Duchhart, J. Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


There is a general consensus amongst landscape architecture academia that the discipline has to urgently advance its methodological repertoire to generate new knowledge and thus strengthen the academic position of landscape architecture. To enhance the methodological repertoire, the core activity of landscape architecture – designing – needs more emphasis in research. Therefore, we shed light on methods that actively employ designing within the research process or ‘research through designing’ (RTD) in this essay. We position ‘research through designing’ in general discussions on research and design relations and indicate its great importance for landscape architecture research. Building upon Creswell’s well established overview of knowledge claims ((post)positivist, constructivist, advocacy/participatory and pragmatic) and related research methods, we categorize different types of RTD for landscape architecture in these knowledge claims. For each claim, we articulate types of new knowledge that is searched for, related research questions, appropriate RTD methods and evaluation strategies. In grounding RTD in Creswell’s framework, we argue that many types of designing can be a respected research method when they comply with the respective rules. With this overview, we would like to facilitate further methodological discussion in landscape architecture and enhance interdisciplinary communication and cooperation with other academic disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-127
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • paradigm
  • ecology


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