The Province of Noord-Holland as a case study
Spatial quality is a key element in landscape policy of the province of Noord-Holland in the Netherlands. Visual attributes such as spaciousness, openness, and landscape enclosure are considered as constituent elements of spatial quality and play a crucial role in comprehending and defining landscape identity. This article introduces a landscape planning and design oriented approach towards landscape physiognomic issues in order to describe, protect and develop the visual landscape. Expert knowledge and advanced spatial research methods and techniques are combined in a landscape physiognomic framework for landscape policy, planning and design. This framework is recently employed by the provincial authority and is adopted in the Structural Concept of Noord-Holland 2040.
In the presented approach the application of the visual attributes through GIS resulted in an integral landscape physiognomic framework for spatial planning and design. This framework addresses three different scales of physiognomic research: scale of the province, scale of the landscape unit, and scale of the observer. Grid-based and viewshed-based methods are employed in order to comprehend and connect these conceptual and perceptual spaces. This planning and design oriented approach offered the provincial authority a framework for managing and monitoring the visual landscape and is recently adopted in the structural concept of Noord-Holland. The article addresses the theoretical, methodological and technical foundations, as well as its implication for landscape policy of the provincial authority.