Design as Research in Landscape Architecture

S. Nijhuis, Jeroen de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
282 Downloads (Pure)


Research through design (RTD) is a frequently used concept in the day-to-day practice of education and research in the field of landscape architecture. RTD as a concept usually refers to a research method in which spatial design plays the leading role. The underlying premise is that design is a form of research and involves a culture of thought. Though there is a wealth of literature available on the relationship between research and design, there is a dearth of literature addressing the act of design as a research process in the field of landscape architecture. This paper contributes to the RTD discourse by addressing how spatial design can be applied as a research strategy. The article defines design as a form of research and identifies how design relates to other more conventional definitions of research methods. It elaborates on RTD as a concept and the types of knowledge that it generates. The paper also addresses the design process and design methods in landscape architecture. In addition, criteria for accepted, responsible research are translated into practical requirements that can guide RTD processes in academic and professional contexts. In order to continue developing landscape architecture as a design discipline, it is important that the theoretical, methodological, and technical foundations of spatial design are clarified and strengthened.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-103
Number of pages17
JournalLandscape Journal
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Knowledge acquisition
  • Research by design
  • Research methods
  • Research through design
  • Spatial design


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