The phenomenological experience of the visual landscape


  • Ana Moya Pellitero ISMAT, Grupo Lusófona




Any environment, natural, rural or urban, cannot be only reduced to a physical object that is measured, analysed, monitored, or captured through mapping, human beings also relate to their environment through their beliefs, emotions and senses. This existential relation brings together the objective and the subjective, the physical qualities of the space and its perceptual and sensorial experience, the tangible (quantitative) geographic values and the intangible (qualitative) emotional connotations.

This article addresses how we can map and monitor, the quantitative and the qualitative, the tangible and the intangible aspects of landscape. It argues that we should include phenomenological information that is constantly expanding and actualising in the Internet. This information is outside the subject, and inside a digital environment that can be always consulted, as an external memory. If we consider a new social participative methodology, we should see the potentials of a digital society that did not lose the physical and phenomenological contact with the environment, on the contrary, this sensorial and corporeal contact has been intensified.

The Information Age does not create isolated individuals in front of a computer, but collectives and groups eager for communication in infinite social networks. Landscape is not only appreciated by the ‘look’ but also by the rest of the body senses. Landscape becomes a somatic space where individuals are not outside, taking distance, and ‘looking at’ the view, but inside of it, creating it by the same corporeal action and body awareness. In the mapping of the qualitative and intangible values of the landscape, a new social participative methodology should take into consideration, together with the way society perceives and appreciates the landscape by the look, also the degrees of social interaction with it, and the layers of exchange of information and communication that the landscape contains.

How to Cite

Pellitero, A. M. (2011). The phenomenological experience of the visual landscape. Research in Urbanism Series, 2, 57–71.



Author Biography

Ana Moya Pellitero, ISMAT, Grupo Lusófona

Assistant professor of Architecture at the Architecture Master program, ISMAT, Grupo Lusófona, Portugal. She received her PhD at the Department of Architectural History and Theory, Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands). Her dissertation entitled The Image of the Urban Landscape was developed as a transdisciplinary and intercultural study in the field of landscape perception of the urban environment. She is also principal of StudioMEB, office of architecture, planning and landscape. In this position she is involved in the program GreenEngines, a pedagogic tool on sustainable landscape planning, in landscape theory, urban and visual culture.


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