- Spectrum Matrix: Landscape Design and Landscape Experience
- Landscape Journal: design, planning, and management of the land
- University of Wisconsin Press
- Volume 30, Number 2, 2011
- pp. 241-260
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- Additional Information
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.