Landscape Ecology

, 24:993 | Cite as

The scientific basis for the design of landscape sustainability: A conceptual framework for translational landscape research and practice of designed landscapes and the six Es of landscape sustainability

  • Laura R. Musacchio
Research article


Landscape researchers and practitioners, using the lens of sustainability science, are breaking new ground about how people’s behaviors and actions influence the structure, function, and change of designed landscapes in an urbanizing world. The phrase—the scientific basis of the design for landscape sustainability—is used to describe how sustainability science can contribute to translational landscape research and practice about the systemic relationships among landscape sustainability, people’s contact with nature, and complex place-based problems. In the first section of this article, important definitions about the scientific basis of the design for landscape sustainability are reviewed including the six Es of landscape sustainability—environment, economic, equity, aesthetics, experience, and ethics. A conceptual framework about the six Es of landscape sustainability for designed landscapes is introduced. The interrelatedness, opportunities, contradictions, and limitations of the conceptual framework are discussed in relation to human health/security, ecosystem services, biodiversity, and resource management. The conceptual framework about the six Es of landscape sustainability for designed landscapes follows the tradition in which landscape researchers and practitioners synthesize emerging trends into conceptual frameworks for advancing basic and applied activities.


Sustainability science Translational landscape research and practice Landscape sustainability Urbanization Globalization Coupled human and natural systems Designed landscapes Complex place-based problems Human-nature interactions Biodiversity conservation 



This article was inspired by a half-day symposium held at the 2007 World Congress of Landscape Ecology in Wageningen, the Netherlands that was organized by Laura Musacchio and Jianguo Wu. Several reviewers provide very helpful comments during the development of this article. In addition, this effort was made possible by my Dayton Hudson Fellowship and international travel grant from the University of Minnesota.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Landscape Architecture, Conservation Biology, Urban and Regional Planning, and Water Resources Science ProgramsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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