Landscape architects are challenged to create places that promote human interaction, involvement, and experience. While there is a growing body of literature providing performance-driven design guidelines, there is a dearth of direction for those wanting to design landscapes for more engaging landscape experiences. This paper addresses this gap by posing a theoretical relationship between an individual’s perception and cognition, and the use of landscape elements and their qualities in site design. The paper posits that Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory and Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences relate levels of challenge, intelligence traits, and capacities to an individual’s landscape experience. The article presents a matrix of possible experiences, the Spectrum Matrix derived from Csikszentmihalyi and Gardner, as a generative design tool for use at various points during the design process to enhance a site design’s development to provide more opportunities for engaging landscape experiences. Case study descriptions of built sites demonstrate possible landscape elements, qualities and challenges related to the different ways individual users perceive and interact with and in landscapes.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 241-260
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.