International Concepts of Landscapes, Theory Basis

  • Dorothea HokemaEmail author
  • Hisako Koura
  • Cuttaleeya Jiraprasertkun
  • Jala Makhzoumi
Part of the RaumFragen: Stadt – Region – Landschaft book series (RFSRL)


An online survey was conducted between October and December 2012 with the aim of investigating the understanding of landscape by US-American laypersons. The objective of the study was to gain a better insight into the construction of landscape. The respondents’ idea of landscape turned out to be an ambivalent combination of contemporary and traditional aspects: for US-American laypersons cultivated nature and sensible agriculture seem to be the core elements of landscape. Furthermore, cities and suburbs are connected to the notion of landscape as well.

Referring to landscape as a socially constructed term the traditionalist connotations as expressed in the survey may be astonishing because they seem to ignore contemporary living conditions. Only an understanding of social construction which recognizes also the history of ideas as a pivotal factor determining the discourse about the term may allow one to comprehend the ambivalent construction.


This chapter discusses the concept of Landscape Literacy with reference to the concept of Good Landscape in Japan. Concepts of landscape were introduced into Japan during the 1920s, first for academic purposes, and later also for wider uses (Ueda, 2013). The Japanese Landscape Act of 2004 does not define the concept of landscape, but introduces the basic philosophy of the “Good Landscape”; this legislation indicates how the concept of “Good Landscape” might be implemented, but many relevant questions still need to be answered. This chapter presents precursory considerations for good environmental quality that are found in Japanese planning and urban development since the 1960s (Nishimura, 2003), and in this chapter Landscape Planning is also discussed as the communication process to develop Landscape Literacy as the ground for development management.


The studies on the reading of space and places have proved that it is extremely difficult (in fact almost impossible!) to translate or even to compare English and Thai words. The fact that the terms ‘teewang’, ‘tintee’ and ‘phumitat’, the literal translations of ‘space’, ‘place’ and ‘landscape’ in Thai, are not commonly used in Thai people’s everyday life raises crucial questions of how people actually perceive and describe their spaces and places: what are those terms they use in daily life and whether their perceptions and interpretations through those concepts will overlap to some extent with the understandings of ‘space, ‘place’, ‘landscape’ in the English world.

Hence, the investigations have been conducted on how the Thais conceptualize the understandings of ‘space’, ‘place’, ‘landscape’ and ‘community’ through local vocabularies. The study illustrates that Thai people have formulated their thinking through several common terms of ‘ban’ (house or home), ‘muang’ (city or town), ‘chonnabot’ (countryside), ‘sapapwaedlom’ (environment) and a set of terms relating to the concept of community. The readings and interpretations of those terms and their embedded qualities help to explain why Western theories are often not applicable to the Thai contexts. Also values and meanings involved with such terms raise critical questions as to the application of design theory and practice.


Accepting that a totalizing conception of ‘landscape’ is not universal but specific to Western culture, this chapter investigates the perception of landscape in the Arab Middle East. Two contrasting conceptions of landscape are proposed. The first is ‘borrowed’ from the West, introduced as part of urban restructuring during British and French colonial rule and post-colonial governments in the early twentieth century. The second is ‘rooted’ in traditional perceptions of countryside and vernacular rural valuation of natural resources. The chapter argues that the discourse of landscape should recognize both conceptions, the ‘borrowed’ and the ‘rooted’, as a necessary foundation for advancing research and practice in the Arab Middle East.


Middle East Urban Design Landscape Planning Olive Orchard Domestic Garden 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. BMU/BfN Bundesministerium für Umwelt Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit; Bundesamt für Naturschutz (2012): Naturbewusstsein 2011. Bevölkerungsumfrage zu Natur und biologischer Vielfalt. Available via BfN.–2011_barrierefrei.pdf. Accessed 11 Dec 2013
  2. Drexler D (2010): Landschaft und Landschaftswahrnehmung. Untersuchung des kulturhistorischen Bedeutungswandels von Landschaft anhand eines Vergleichs von England, Frankreich, Deutschland und Ungarn. Südwestdeutscher Verlag für Hochschulschriften,Google Scholar
  3. Saarbrücken Eisel U, Körner S, Wiersbinski N (eds) (2009): Landschaft in einer Kultur der Nachhaltigkeit, Band III. Universität Kassel, Fachbereich Architektur, Stadtplanung, Landschaftsplanung, KasselGoogle Scholar
  4. Hass A (2009): Der Transzendentalismus als philosophische Basis des amerikanischen Freiheitsmythos vom Pionier in der Wildnis. In: Kirchhoff T, Trepl L (eds): Vieldeutige Natur. Landschaft, Wildnis und Ökosystem als kulturgeschichtliche Phänomene. Bielefeld, pp 291–300Google Scholar
  5. Hokema D (2013): Landschaft im Wandel? Zeitgenössische Landschaftsbegriffe in Wissenschaft, Planungspraxis und Alltag. Springer VS, WiesbadenGoogle Scholar
  6. Ipsen D (2002): Landschaftsbewusstsein in der Niederlausitz. Ergebnisse der Umfrage. Available via Universität Kassel. Accessed 13 July 2013 Keller R (2004): Diskursforschung. Opladen
  7. Körner S, Nagel A, Eisel U (2003): Naturschutzbegründungen. Bundesamt für Naturschutz, Bonn- Bad GodesbergGoogle Scholar
  8. Kook K (2009): Landschaft als soziale Konstruktion. Raumwahrnehmung und Imagination am Kaiserstuhl. Dissertation at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg im BreisgauGoogle Scholar
  9. Kühne O (2006): Landschaft in der Postmoderne. Das Beispiel des Saarlandes. Deutscher Universitätsverlag, WiesbadenGoogle Scholar
  10. Lupp G (2008): Landschaftswahrnehmung von Anwohnern und Besuchern des Müritz-Nationalparks und Prognose zu erwartender Veränderungen im Landschaftsbild. Culterra 54, Institut für Landespflege der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, FreiburgGoogle Scholar
  11. Marr M, Zillien N (2010): Digitale Spaltung. In: Schweiger W, Beck K (eds) Handbuch Onlinekommunikation. Springer, Wiesbaden, pp 257–282Google Scholar
  12. Schenk W (2008): Aktuelle Verständnisse von Kulturlandschaft in der deutschen Raumplanung – ein Zwischenbericht. In: Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung: Informationen zur Raumentwicklung, 5/2008, pp 271–277Google Scholar
  13. CABE (2009): Planning for Places: Delivering good design through core strategies. CABE UK, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. DETR, CABE (2000): By design: urban design in the planning system towards better practice. GOV UK, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Jones M, Stenseke M (2011): Challenges of Participation. In: Jones M, Stenseke M (eds): Landscape Series. vol 13.Google Scholar
  16. Lennon JL, Taylor K (2012): Prospects and challenges for cultural landscape management. In: Managing Cultural Landscape. Routledge, London, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Meinig D (1979): The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays PaperbackGoogle Scholar
  18. MLIT. (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) (2004): English version of “Landscape Act” prepared by the Landscape Office of MILT. Available via MLIT.
  19. Nishimura Y (2004): Urban Conservation Planning. University of Tokyo Press, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  20. Nishimura Y (2003): Landscape Planning in Japan. Gakugei-shuppanGoogle Scholar
  21. Relph E (1976): Place and Placelessness. Pion, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Ueda H (2013): The Concept of Landscape in Japan. In: Bruns D, Kühne O (eds): Landschaftstheorie – Landschaften: Theorie, Praxis und Internationale Bezüge. Oceano Verlag, SchwerinGoogle Scholar
  23. Ueda H (2013): Landscape Perception in Japan and Germany. In: Shimizu H, Murayama A (eds): The Basic and Clinical Environmental Approaches in Landscape Planning. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  24. Wylie J (2007): Landscape. Routledge, London, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. UNESCO (2011): Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape.Google Scholar
  26. Anuman-Rajadhon P (1988): Chiwitchaothaisamaikon: ruangkansuksaruangprapenithai (Thai life in the past: the studies of Thai traditions). vol 2–3. Muadkhanopthamniamprapeni [Culture and tradition section], Fine Arts Department, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  27. Askew M (1994): Interpreting Bangkok: the urban question in Thai studies. Chulalongkorn University Press, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  28. Askew M (2002): Bangkok, place, practice and representation. Routledge, London, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Barnett D (1959): The mask of Siam. Hale, LondonGoogle Scholar
  30. Beek SV (1995): The Chao Phya: river in transition. Oxford University Press, Kuala Lumpur, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Carter A (ed) (1988): The kingdom of Siam: 1904. Siam Society, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  32. Fournereau L (1998): Bangkok in 1892. Translated by Tips, W. E. J., Originally published under title Bangkok In: Le Tour du Monde (1894), vol 68:1–64, White Lotus Press, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  33. Gustafson P (2001): ‘Meanings of place: everyday experience and theoretical conceptualizations’. Journal of environmental psychology, 21:5–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hawanonth N, Jiradechakun P, Padthaisong S (2007): Thrisdee-tharn-raknaireungkwam-khem-khangkhongchumchon [Grounded Theory on Community Stength], Thailand Research Fund, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  35. Hay R (1998): Sense of place in developmental context. Journal of environmental psychology, 18:5–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hayden D (1995): The power of place: urban landscapes as public history, MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  37. Jiraprasertkun C (2011): Reading Thai Community: the Processes of Reformation and Fragmentation. In: Edensor T, Jayne M (eds): Urban Theory beyond ‘the West: A World of Cities. Routledge, UK, pp 271–291Google Scholar
  38. Kanchanapan A (1992): Khwam Pen Chumchon (Community). In: Research Direction and Cutural Development in Northern Region, 28–29 August, Chiangmai, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  39. Keyes C F (1987): Thailand, Buddhist kingdom as modern nation-state. Westview Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  40. Klamsom P (2002): Yarn kaonaiKrungthep (Old districts of Bangkok). MuangBoran Press, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  41. Klausner W. J. (2000) Reflections on Thai culture, Collected writings of William J. Klausner. The Siam society, Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
  42. Komin S (1985): The World View through Thai Value Systems. In: Traditional and changing Thai world view. Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute, Southeast Asian Studies Program, Bangkok, Singapore, pp 170–192Google Scholar
  43. Lefebvre H (1991): The production of space. Blackwell, Oxford, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  44. Mugerauer R (1985): Language and the emergence of environment. In: Seamon D, Mugerauer R (eds): Dwelling, place, and environment: towards a phenomenology of person and world. MartinusNijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 51–70Google Scholar
  45. Mulder N (1996): Inside Thai society: an interpretations of everyday life. Pepin Press, Amsterdam, Kuala LumpurGoogle Scholar
  46. Nartsupha C (1991): Watthanathamthaikabkabuankarnplianplangthangsangkhom (Thai culture and the transforming process of Thai society). Chulalongkorn Press, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  47. Nartsupha C (1994): Watthanathammubanthai (The culture of Thai village). Sangsan Publishing Co. Ltd., BangkokGoogle Scholar
  48. Nartsupha C (1997): Ban kabmuang (Ban and muang). Chulalongkorn Press, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  49. Noparatnaraporn C (2003): Living place and landscape in Bangkok: the merging character. Pape presented at the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, University of Hawaii – West Oahu, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  50. O’Connor R A (1979): Hierarchy and community in Bangkok. Department of Anthropology, The University of the South, Bangkok, p 11Google Scholar
  51. Pithipat S (2001): Khwam pen khonthai (Being Thai people). Knowledge of Thai History II, Amarin, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  52. Raendchen J (2002):’The conceptualisation of the term ‘muang’ in Lao and Western researches. Paper presented at the 8th international conference on Thai studies, Ramkhamhaeng University, NakhonPhanom, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  53. Ruam-duai-chuai-kan (ed) (2001): Thrisdimainailuang: chiwittiporpiang (King’s new theory: sufficient living). Ruam-duai-chuai-kan, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  54. Rybczynski W (2001): Home: a short history of an idea. Pocket Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  55. Seddon G (ed) (1997): Landprints: reflection on place and landscape. University of Cambridge, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  56. Sidthithanyakit P (1999): Karnpatirupbanmuangkhrangyaikhongsayamprathet (The big evolution of Siamese country). Bantuek Siam, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  57. Smithies M (1993): Old Bangkok. Oxford University Press, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  58. Smuckarn S (1985): Thai Peasant World View. In: Traditional and changing Thai world view. Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute, Southeast Asian Studies Program, Bangkok, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  59. Stott P (1991): Mu’ang and pa: elite views of nature in a changing Thailand. In: Thai Construction of Knowledge. White Lotus Co. Ltd., BangkokGoogle Scholar
  60. Veerasilpchai S (1994): Cheu ban nammuangnaiKrungthep (Names of places in Bangkok). Art & Culture: a special edition. Matichon Co., BangkokGoogle Scholar
  61. Vichit-Vadakarn J (1989): Thai social structure and behavior patterns: nature versus culture. In: Culture and environment in Thailand: a symposium of the Siam Society. DuangKamol, Chiang Mai, Thailand, pp 425–447Google Scholar
  62. Wallipodom S (2000): The Chao Phraya society: development and change. In: Chao Phraya Delta: historical development, dynamics and challenges of Thailand’s rice bowl. Bangkok, pp 7–33 Warren W (2002): Bangkok. Reaktion, LondonGoogle Scholar
  63. Winichakul T (1994): Siam mapped: a history of the geo-body of a nation. University of Hawaii Press, HonoluluGoogle Scholar
  64. Wongtes S (2001): Maenamlamkhlongsaiprawatsart (River and khlong: the historical stream). Matichon Press, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  65. Wyatt D K (1984): Thailand: a short history. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  66. Wyatt D K (2002): Siam in mind. Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  67. Bender, B (ed) (1993): Landscape. Politics and Perspectives. Berg, ProvidenceGoogle Scholar
  68. Cosgrove D (1984): Social Formations and Symbolic Landscape. The University of Wisconsin Press, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  69. Council of Europe (2011): Culture Heritage. Landscape/. Accessed August 2011
  70. King A (1990): Urbanism, Colonialism, and the World-Economy. Cultural and Spatial Foundations of the World Urban System. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  71. Lewis P (1979): Axioms for Reading the Landscape. In: Meinig D (ed): The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 11–32Google Scholar
  72. Makhzoumi J (2015): The Discourse of Urban Greening: City, region and Peripheral Landscapes in the MashrEq.  In: Saliba R (ed): Re-conceptualizing Boundaries: Urban Design in the Arab World. Ashgate (in progress), LondonGoogle Scholar
  73. Makhzoumi J (2014): Is rural heritage relevant in an urbanizing Mashreq? Exploring the discourse of landscape heritage in Lebanon. In: Maffi I, Daher R (eds): Positioning the Material Past in Contemporary Societies. The politics and practices of cultural heritage in the Middle East. I.B. Tauris, London, pp. 233–252Google Scholar
  74. Makhzoumi J (2009): Unfolding landscape in a Lebanese village: Rural heritage in a globalizing World. International Journal of Heritage Studies 15(4):317–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Makhzoumi J (2008): Interrogating the hakura tradition: Lebanese garden as product and production. International Association for the Study of Traditional Dwellings and Settlements, Working Paper Series, Volume 200:50–60Google Scholar
  76. Makhzoumi J (2002): Landscape in the Middle East: An inquiry. Landscape Research, 27(3):213–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Makhzoumi J, Zako R (2007): The Beirut Dozen: Traditional domestic gardens as spatial and cultural mediator. Paper presented at the Sixth International Space Syntax Symposium, Istanbul, Turkey, 12–15 June, pp 064–1–064–12Google Scholar
  78. Makhzoumi J, Pungetti G (1999): Ecological Design and Planning: the Mediterranean context. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  79. Olwig K (2002): Landscape Nature and the Body Politics. From Britain’s Renaissance to America’s New World. The University of Wisconsin Press, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  80. Tilley C (2006): Identity, Place, Landscape and Heritage. Journal of Material Culture 11(1/2):7–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. UNHABITAT (2012): The State of Arab Cities 2012. Challenges of Urban Transition. http://www. = 3320. Accessed October 2013Google Scholar
  82. World Biomes (2014): World Accessed 09 Feb 2014

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothea Hokema
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hisako Koura
    • 2
  • Cuttaleeya Jiraprasertkun
    • 3
  • Jala Makhzoumi
    • 4
  1. 1.BerlinGermany
  2. 2.OsakaJapan
  3. 3.BangkokThailand
  4. 4.BeirutLibanon

Personalised recommendations