Open Space Aesthetics Between Professional Ideals and Common Taste

By Doris Gstach.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Landscape architecture as an applied design
discipline is confronted with user expectations
not just concerning functions but also concerning the
aesthetics of a place. Empirical studies illustrate
that professionals and the broad public perceive and
evaluate the aesthetics of open space designs, of
parks and plazas in different ways. This raises some basic
questions about the design principles and specific goals for
open spaces as a public good. Generally
we have to ask how much consideration should be given to the
users and their common taste. Sociological
and psychological research findings about aesthetic
preferences seem able to define principles
for a design which meets the taste of the common users. Does
the design process have to follow these
findings? Or does the aesthetic appearance of public open
spaces reflect socio-political aims beyond
pleasing the crowd which legitimize the deviation from the
common taste? It seems to be time (again)
to examine the goals of public open space design.

Keywords: Open Space Aesthetics, Aesthetic Perception, Aesthetic Preferences, Public Goods, Landscape Architecture, Design Principles, Common Taste

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.259-264. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 736.439KB).

Dr. Doris Gstach

Assistant Professor, Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

Dr. Doris Gstach is a landscape architect by profession. She has been working as a practitioner, researcher and teacher in Austria and Germany. Currently she holds a position as assistant professor at the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture at Clemson University/USA. In her Ph.D. she was examining the meaning of temporary open spaces in public open space development. Her recent research focuses on open space typologies in postindustrial cities and societies and contemporary cultures of open space production and use.


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