Rural Landscape Anatomy: Public space and civil yards in Dutch rural landscapes of the future

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Landscape Architecture is still maturing in the Netherlands. It fills gaps left by urban designers and provides integrated design examples that reflect current cultural conditions, yet at the same time this does not necessarily lead to specific and adaptive design strategies. When dealing with the future of rural landscapes and countryside, a shift should take place regarding current landscape architects¿ competencies because, as Dutch landscape architects are gradually becoming urbanists (they may not call themselves `stedenbouwers¿ since that is a protected title), the long-term growth and maintenance of trees, perennials and biotopes is losing their attention. Many dominant designers perceive the future of rural landscapes as being only loosely related to agrarian activities. They regard the rural landscape as bourgeois countryside with rural backdrops. Mixed with a fashionable historic perception and this results in an awkward brew of ¿purified spaces¿ that only solve non-rural issues. Worse, the same urbanist `best practices¿ are repeated over and over again and thus gain authority amongst the relatively small community of landscape-related professions, without much review. In this paper I will comment on this status quo and also explore some projects by young landscape architects who show glimpses of a shift in design motives. These projects focus on the mechanisms that have produced current rural patterns and aesthetics. The counterurbanisation that will gradually introduce non-agrarian inhabitants into the future rural landscape will also have to work creatively with mechanisms such as establishing right-of-way routes, and initiating causal relationships between the ownership and care of yard, garden and landscape ¿ mechanisms that will produce future living landscapes instead of fashionable images that reflect (sub)urban demands
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-19
JournalJola : Journal of Landscape Architecture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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