Landscape vocabulary – does it help or hinder design

The Berkerly Daily Planet reported on the City Council meeting for the Downtown Area Plan for Berkerly. In the meeting a Commissioner raised queries about the language used by the landscape architects and other authors in the Area Plan document. The terms in question were

– ‘to reference Strawberry Creek’ in which a they were referring to a design element such as water that would be used to represent Strawberry Creek.

also the term ‘wayfinding’ devices in relation to directional signage was also confusing to the readers.

and the last term was ‘vocabulary of features’ in relation to streetscape design

Often as built environment professionals we use professional jargon to express our concepts, thoughts and ideas for a design. However, I think we often forget to consider the reader’s education and demographic that when writing a document. 

I am not one to shy away from using a terms/phrases such as ‘interpretation’ in relation to signage or informative/education signage or ‘using the consistent design language’ however I usually try to remember to aim at the level of the design knowledge of the audience and the client to strike a balance between a professional design document and one that the general public can understand.

In the case of the Berkerly Downtown Area Plan, I can understand that with a University’s involvement that the authors felt it necessary to use design language however, I think it is best when writing design statements and documents to be more relaxed and use plain language when the reader’s are from the general community and those who are not in the built environment profession. This often allows residents and participants to understand and feel more apart of the design process.

Read about the Berkerly Downtown Plan @ the Berkerly Daily Planet

 

 

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