Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version



2018. van der Elst, J., H. Richards-Rissetto, and L. Diaz-Kommenen. “Rural Sense: Value, Heritage, and Sensory Landscapes: Developing a Design-Oriented Approach to Mapping for Healthier Landscapes.” Landscape Review 18(1): 56-71


This journal provides immediate open access.


Landscape design needs a novel value system centred on human experience of the landscape rather than simply on economic value. Design-oriented research allows us to shift the focus from mechanistic paradigms towards new sensemaking approaches that value both the sensual and the cognitive in human experience. To move in this direction, we investigate cultural and natural aspects of sensory experience in rural landscapes, arguing that: (1) rural (non-urban) regions offer diverse sensory experiences for optimising human health; and (2) spatial interconnectedness between rural and urban areas means that healthy rural regions are critical for urban development. Our key argument is that many rural landscapes contain intrinsically valuable traditional practices that create multisensory experiences with untapped benefits for human well-being, particularly in the auditory and olfactory realms, and thus a mapping system that accounts for sensory experience is required.