Landscape Led Design


Coastal landscapes are sensitive to water-related effects of climate change such as flooding, extreme rainfall and drought. In order to tackle these effects and enhance the resilience of these landscapes, a better and profound understanding of water management is needed. The SCAPE project addresses this challenge by developing and testing innovative water management solutions for coastal cities in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

SCAPE is working with key stakeholders (water managers, planners and architects) to increase the cost effectiveness of water management applications in six pilot sites. The measures outlined below have been tested at the pilot sites located in rural, urban and fringe coastal areas.

The measures of the conventional water management approach does not take the landscape-specific characteristics into account. The SCAPE project wants to build upon the principles of the European Landscape Convention (ELC) to implement a new approach in water management – Landscape Led Design or LLD.

European Landscape Convention

The European Landscape Convention (ELC) of the Council of Europe promotes the protection, management and planning of the landscapes and organises international cooperation on landscape issues.

The ELC was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 July 2000, and in 2008 guidelines for its implementation were added. The ELC is a treaty, meaning it only covers guidance and recommendations.

“Landscape”, in the ELC, is defined as “[an] area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”.

The aim (art. 3) of the landscape sets to promote protection, management and planning of the landscape (art. 4-6) and do this in a European cooperation (art. 7-11)

To work on protection, management and planning the ELC states that it is important to recognize and integrate landscape in legislation and policies to enhance participation, to create awareness and to give training about the landscape. This happens in different phases:

Phase 1: Identify the landscape in its broad sense by using different approaches such as ecological, archaeological, historical, cultural, economic, social, etc.

Phase 2: Assess the different themes and note the changes and forces influencing the landscape. All these aspects should then come together in Landscape Quality Objectives. These objectives are integrated into the protection, management and planning of the landscape.

Phase 3: Monitor how the implementation of the ELC is shaping the landscape.

ELC implementation scheme (Porter & Brown, 2009)

SCAPE Joint strategy

The central question which is the baseline for this strategy is as follows:

“Can Landscape Led Design be used to design an adaptive water management system that mediates the challenges of climate change?”

The strategy starts with an analysis of water management systems and the impact of climate change on water management by looking at the landscape as an adaptive system in the six pilot sites of SCAPE.

It also analyses relevant national policies and strategies in the respective partner countries (BE, NL, UK).

LLD Portal