Exploring visual landscapes



  • Steffen Nijhuis TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Ron van Lammeren Wageningen University
  • Marc Antrop University of Ghent





Visual landscape research is an interdisciplinary approach important for landscape and urban planning. This field of research integrates: (1) landscape planning, design and management concepts, (2) landscape perception approaches, and (3) GISc-based methods and techniques in order to map the visual landscape. It offers possible ways of getting a grip on themes like: landscape openness, cluttering of the rural landscape, high-rise buildings in relation to cityscape, historic landscapes and motorway panoramas. This article is an introduction to the field of visual landscape research and provides an overview of the different perspectives on the subject. It provides, from a specific Dutch academic context, important clues for theory, methodology and application in research and development of landscapes all over the world. It offers clues for visual landscape assessment of spaces in cities, parks and rural areas. This article provides a wide range of insights into the psychological background of landscape perception, the technical considerations of geomatics and methodology in landscape architecture, urban planning and design.

How to Cite

Nijhuis, S., van Lammeren, R., & Antrop, M. (2011). Exploring visual landscapes: Introduction. Research in Urbanism Series, 2, 15–39. https://doi.org/10.7480/rius.2.205



Author Biographies

Steffen Nijhuis, TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment

Assistant professor of Landscape Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands). Initiator of this book. His PhD-research, entitled Landscape Architecture and GIS, focuses on the application of Geographic Information Science in landscape architectonic research and design. The core of his work deals with theories, methods and techniques in the field of landscape architecture and urban design: design research, research by design, visual landscape assessment and visual knowledge representation. He is leader of the research programme Architecture and Landscape, series editor of RiUS and advisor to governmental and regional authorities in the Netherlands.

Ron van Lammeren, Wageningen University

Associate professor of Geo-Information at the Centre for Geo-Information, Wageningen University (the Netherlands). His dissertation entitled Computer use in regional spatial planning (in Dutch) is an early investigation on GIS-support of Dutch regional spatial planning activities. Currently his research focuses on 3D visualisation of land use and landscape changes, quantitative landscape characteristics, participatory planning GIS and location based decision interfaces. He is also programme director of the MSc-programme Geographical Sciences – Geo-Information Management and Applications (GIMA), a joint activity of four renowned universities: Utrecht University, Delft University of Technology, ITC Enschede and Wageningen University.

Marc Antrop, University of Ghent

Emeritus professor of Geography at the University of Ghent (Belgium). His research focuses on landscapes as holistic phenomena in a transdisciplinary vision, integrating landscape typology and evaluation, landscape ecology, historical geography, landscape perception, landscape architecture and landscape planning. He conceived the landscape atlas of Flanders and Belgium. He is vice-president of the Royal Committee for Protection of Monuments and Landscapes in Flanders and member of the Belgian Scientific Committee of ICOMOS-IFLA. Since 2009 he is honorary president of Landscape Europe.


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