Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Kevin Raaphorst

Date: 09 April 2019
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Aula, building 362, Gen. Foulkesweg 1, Wageningen

Dissertation title: 

More Than Meets the Eye: A critical semiotic analysis of landscape design visualizations

Group: Wageningen University, Landscape Architecture
Promotors: A. van den Brink
Copromotors: W.G.M. van der Knaap

Extra information:


This thesis investigates the communicative qualities of visual landscape design representations. The main subjects of inquiry were

  1. visual design representations in their many forms and appearances;
  2. the meanings that are attributed to, or derived from, those representations by designers, planners, and project stakeholders;
  3. the participatory planning and design processes of the multifunctional flood defence landscape projects wherein those representations are used.

The meaning-making processes of visual design representations are conceptualized as a relation between the semiotic complexity of images, interpretive habits of stakeholders, and visual discourse of design producers. The shaping of participatory planning and design processes by design representations is categorized into a typology of nine semiotic qualities. This thesis suggests a way of looking at visual representations and organizing the planning and design process that enables planners and designers, as process facilitators, to determine the most appropriate communicative strategy at a specific moment, for specific participants.