A projective approach to a language of landscape design

  • Catherine Ward Thompson


Building on the work of Kelly (1955) in personal construct psychology, and Peled (1976, I990) in ecoanalysis, this paper develops projective techniques-which use concepts of personal and phenomenological space-as a means for articulating approaches to landscape design. The projective approach involves two stages. In stage one, projective techniques are used to elicit personal constructs (which may be held at a pre-conscious or sub-conscious level), allowing the holistic experience of landscape to be explored. In stage two, using a 'projection location task' derived from the way we experience and construe the regions of our own bodies, elements of these constructs can then be articulated so as to inform the way we interact and engage with the space around us. This gives insight into the meaning of spatial layouts, which can then be translated into a design language for the structural ordering of space. The author draws on original research conducted with children as well as adults, using projective techniques to draw out their desires and needs in relation to designing their landscape environment. The paper discusses the value of such methods for landscape designers and their clients, and outlines some ongoing research to test the validity of the projection location task.