Perceptions of landscape function within the field of landscape architecture

Weese-Young, Julia, M.S.S.D.
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Landscape functions are the processes that support life by rendering ecosystem services and goods. Thus, in a time of profound ecological destabilization, our future well-being depends on our ability to preserve, to enhance, and to avoid degrading landscape functions. Landscape architects have the opportunity to play a significant role in this project, but they cannot design for (or around) that which they do not perceive. Using an interpretive approach, and a sample of Texas landscape architects, this research explores which landscape functions this group of professionals readily perceives and various understandings of the concept of landscape function within the field. Participant authored photography, a written-answer questionnaire, and a photographic observation activity resulted in 539 functions that were coded and categorized using a modified grounded theory approach. Findings from this sample of landscape architects indicate a strong focus on functions related to the human user and to site use and reveal various understandings of landscape function.