VOL: 7  NO: 1  1-17   2010-1


Understanding the relationship between human needs and the use of water in landscape design



Yasin Çağatay SEÇKİN

Istanbul Technical University Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul TURKEY


Received: January 2010    Final Acceptance: April 2010



Water, an ever-present and enduring element in the landscape, offers unlimited opportunities to its designer with the numerous characteristics that it has. In researches about the landscape design, water has always been shown to be a highly preferred element. But, regarding the reasons of this preference, or in other words, the meaning of water to people, same literature is relatively silent.


This research seeks to discover why people are connected to water, and the ways that human-made water feature design can enhance that connection. The use of water in landscape design is discussed from several perspectives, and is evaluated by applying the humanist paradigm. Consistently, characteristics of water feature design, which strengthen the people and water connection, are described, and a checklist is devised for the application part of the research.

In this research, psychologist Dr. Maslow’s Model of the Need Hierarchy is used to define both human needs and desires that are necessary for survival, and the necessary elements of water feature design, which successfully connect people and water.


And finally, 75 designers from around world are surveyed through Facebook social networking website, to query which water feature they believe exemplify the people and water connection best, and why. Both the reasons they give and the characteristics of the water features they choose correlate very closely to the criteria found in literature study. 


Keywords: Water as a design element, need hierarchy theory, water features.


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