Routledge Handbook of Landscape Character Assessment : Current Approaches to Characterisation and Assessment book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Landscape Character Assessment
Current Approaches to Characterisation and Assessment

ISBN 9780367502171
Published March 23, 2020 by Routledge
312 Pages 29 Color & 34 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In this multi-authored book, senior practitioners and researchers offer an international overview of landscape character approaches for those working in research, policy and practice relating to landscape.

Over the last three decades, European practice in landscape has moved from a narrow, if relatively straightforward, focus on natural beauty or scenery to a much broader concept of landscape character constructed through human perception, and transcending any of its individual elements. Methods, tools and techniques have been developed to give practical meaning to this idea of landscape character.

The two main methods, Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) and Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) were applied first in the United Kingdom, but other methods are in use elsewhere in Europe, and beyond, to achieve similar ends. This book explores why different approaches exist, the extent to which disciplinary or cultural specificities in different countries affect approaches to land management and landscape planning, and highlights areas for reciprocal learning and knowledge transfer.

Contributors to the book focus on examples of European countries – such as Sweden, Turkey and Portugal – that have adopted and extended UK-style landscape characterisation, but also on countries with their own distinctive approaches that have developed from different conceptual roots, as in Germany, France and the Netherlands. The collection is completed by chapters looking at landscape approaches based on non-European concepts of landscape in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

This book has an introductory price of £125/$205 which will last until 3 months after publication - after this time it will revert to £140/$225.

Table of Contents


1. Landscape Character Approaches in Global, Disciplinary and Policy Context: An Introduction

2. Landscape Character: Experience from Britain

3. Historic Landscape Characterisation: An Archaeological Approach to Landscape Heritage


4. Landscape Characterisation in Sweden: Landscape in the Planning System

5. New Approaches for New Regions – Turkey

6. Developing a Landscape Character Map of Cyprus

7. Multi-method Approaches to Cultural Landscape Assessment in Croatia

8. Landscape Character Assessment across Scales: Insights from the Portuguese Experience of Policy and Planning

9. Collaborative, Participatory Process of Landscape Character Mapping for Land and Forest Planning in Zanzibar, Tanzania


10. US Approaches Related to Landscape Character Assessment

11. Atlas du paysage: Landscape Atlases in France and Wallonia

12. Landscape Assessment in Germany

13. The Landscape Biography Approach to Landscape Characterisation: Dutch Perspectives


14. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata: Landscape characterisation in Aotearoa–New Zealand

15. Caring for Country: A New Landscape Paradigm in Australia

16. On Calling Place: Language, Naming and the Understanding of Landscape Character Attributes of Cultural Places in the Asia-Pacific region.

17. Perspectives on Landscape: Some Canadian Approaches


18. The Embodied City and Metropolitan Landscape

19. Landscape, Local Knowledge and Democracy: The Work of the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia

20. Conclusion: Seeing Obstacles and Finding Ways Ahead

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Graham Fairclough, an archaeologist, worked for many years in English Heritage and is now a member of the McCord Centre for Landscape at Newcastle University, UK.

Ingrid Sarlöv Herlin, landscape architect, is a Professor of Landscape Planning in the Department for Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management of SLU, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, in Alnarp, Sweden.

Carys Swanwick, a practitioner and an academic, is Emeritus Professor of Landscape at the University of Sheffield,UK, and a part time Technical Director in landscape planning at SLR Consulting.



"The Routledge Handbook of Landscape Character Assessment fills an important gap in both academic and practitioner literature. While it addresses the theoretical basis for landscape character assessment since the 1980s, it also adds intricate levels of application to current and future projects. Primarily (although not exclusively) based in the European experience, the Handbook provides a variety of foundational approaches to documenting, understanding and assessing the character of landscapes, from rural to urban, and those along the spectrum in the middle. Most importantly, the Handbook recognizes the direct relationship between landscape character, local traditions and cultural values. The examples from each country reveal not only the professional techniques, but the societal contexts as well. This is especially important because it engages the variety of character assessment tools, rather than promoting only one approach. In this way, the Handbook will be valuable to students of the landscape, beginner or advanced. The handbook will hold a valued place in the library of anyone interested or already working in landscape character assessment."

Robert Z. Melnick, FASLA , Director, Cultural Landscape Research Group and Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon, USA


"I warmly congratulate the editors and authors of the Routledge Handbook of Landscape Character Assessment for a major contribution to the future implementation of the European Landscape Convention. The European Landscape Convention of the Council of Europe places the ‘identification and assessment’ of landscapes at the forefront of measures to achieve its social, cultural and environmental goals. Knowledge of landscape (which, in the words of the Convention, is ‘an essential component of people’s surroundings, an expression of the diversity of their shared cultural and natural heritage, and a foundation of their identity’) is fundamental as it constitutes the first stage in formulating choices or involving the stakeholders whose activities influence the landscape. The 13th Council of Europe Workshop on the implementation of the European Landscape Convention (Montenegro, 2013) was on Territories of the future: landscape identification and assessment, an exercise in democracy) and now this collection offers an overview of the best practices that have been developed in European and non-European States. The Handbook also looks beyond Europe, thus (considering the opening of the Convention to non-European States on 1 August 2018) offering a valuable reference at global level as well."

Maguelonne Déjeant-Pons, Executive Secretary of the European Landscape Convention (Directorate of Democratic Citizenship and Participation), Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France


"Landscape character is a powerful concept, that embeds within itself an understanding of change, identity, familiarity, fascination, strangeness and the myriad stories of ordinary people’s interactions with natural processes. Six weeks teaching in 2005 at the Beijing Graduate School, based on providing students with an understanding of Landscape Character Analysis (LCA) methods, revealed to me very quickly the power and extraordinary transferability of the idea of landscape character and how useful it is as the starting point within an educational process.

Embedded within landscapes are the desires, needs, wants, the values and livelihood processes of our forebears; the intangible meanings, associations, injustices, delights and materiality of the everyday functions of living, generation after generation. Increasingly sophisticated characterisation methods help us not just to reveal these processes, but also understand the ‘mutual moulding’ of how landscape shapes our lives as we shape it. Landscape characterisation tools have become the standard methods of landscape analysis for practitioners and students alike used not only in arguments for the conservation of what we hold most dear in landscapes but in understanding the fundamental role that landscape plays in our identities. Characterisation methods can help articulate and identify the values that people project onto ordinary, everyday landscapes to reveal just how special they are.

This book responds to and celebrates the ways landscape character assessment is understood and used as an analytical tool in various guises around the world. It is a timely collection, and will fill an enormous gap for educators, students and policy-makers in documenting the development and present status of characterisation methods globally, but also in providing a peek into the likely future direction and thinking of those academics leading the field."

Maggie Roe, Reader in Landscape Planning Research, Newcastle University, UK; former Editor, Landscapes Research


"In our increasingly complex world decision-making about landscape preservation and landscape change needs to be based upon a solid understanding of the myriad of dimensions that together identify a ‘landscape’. This book is a timely and important contribution to just such an understanding. Being interdisciplinary and international in scope, it provides a thoughtful and thorough overview of the history, principles and practice of landscape character approaches. Of value to academics and practitioners concerned with the landscape challenges of today and tomorrow. They will be inspired by the many case studies from across the world and learn how different approaches may be successfully applied."

Adri van den Brink, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands


"As a landscape architect activist and practitioner, the Routledge Handbook of Landscape Character Assessment will be my go-to-guide for years to come. Landscape Character Assessment follows a well-established process that reflects truly the interdisciplinary understandings of landscape! This book’s many authors take an everyday subject and turn it into a captivating read that I will recommend to all of my colleagues and policy makers."  

Martha Fajardo, CEO of Grupo Verde Ltd., cofounder and chair of the Latin American Landscape Initiative (LALI)