Mapping Landscape Spaces

Understanding, interpretation, and the use of spatial-visual landscape characteristics in landscape design


  • Mei Liu TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment



Landscape design focuses on the construction and articulation of outdoor space and results in landscape architectonic compositions. In order to communicate about three-dimensional forms and functions, vocabulary, representations, and tools (in terms of spatial-visual characteristics) are of fundamental importance for landscape architects to describe, interpret, and manipulate landscape spaces. While combining design vocabulary and landscape indicators, qualitative and quantitative mapping approaches, visual representation and interpretation methods, this research aims to provide a framework for describing, understanding, and communicating about spatial-visual characteristics in landscape design. A pilot study is used to explore the potential of specific mapping approaches, such as compartment analysis, 3D landscapes, grid-cell analysis, landscape metrics, visibility analysis, and eye-tracking analysis, which are employed to address spatial-visual phenomena like sequence, orientation, continuity, and complexity. Hypothetical design experiments are conducted to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of spatial-visual mapping in the design process. Interviews with designers are carried out to reflect on techniques for mapping spatial-visual characteristics in the daily practice of landscape architecture. This research opens a way in which to apply visual landscape research in the process of landscape design and supports the development of multidisciplinary approaches. By expanding the spatial-visual mapping toolbox, designers can engage in issues of landscape development, transformation, and preservation while providing realistic and instrumental clues for interventions in urban landscapes.

Author Biography

Mei Liu, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Mei Liu was born in Harbin (China) in 1989. In 2008, she started studying Landscape Architecture in Northeast Forestry University, where graduated with a diploma of Bachelor of Agriculture in 2012. For the coming year she started her Master of Landscape Architecture at the department of Urban Planning and Management in Harbin Institute of Technology in Shenzhen (China). After studying two semesters she went abroad to the UK and participated another master track Landscape Studies in the University of Sheffield. In 2015, she finished her master thesis ‘Assessment of Aesthetic Preferences in Relation to Vegetation-Created Enclosure in Chinese Urban Parks’ with distinction and obtained both master degrees. In the same year, she came to Delft University of Technology with scholarship from CSC (Chinese Scholarship Council) and started her PhD in the Section of Landscape Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (The Netherlands). She has expertise mainly in digital mapping methods and tools, spatial-visual landscape characterisation, and visual landscape preference studies. She participated in several international conferences and presented her research, published journals.






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