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Doctoral thesis, 2009

Experiencing landscape while walking

Jakobsson, Anna


The main objective of this thesis is to contribute to a widening of knowledge on spas, on garden design in the late 19th century and on the constituents of landscape heritage. A purpose is to broaden the discussion on landscape heritage, using Ron-neby Spa as an example. The main research questions are how the experience of Ronneby Spa can be studied and described and how the medical spa philosophy and ideas on garden design interplayed when it came to designing the landscape of Ronneby Spa. The discussion focuses on different factors affecting the spa visitor’s experience; sensory experience, garden design and medical spa philosophy. It also focuses on ac-tors affecting the design of the spa landscape; the doctor, the landscape architect and the gardener. The empirical material in this case study has been reflected upon through other researcher’s writings on for example garden design through history, walking, senses, heritage, and history of ideas. The multidisciplinary approach is used to construct an imaginary weave of experience, illustrated by an imaginary spa visitor walking around. The case study reveals interplay between garden design ideas, sensory experience and medical spa philosophy in the design and the experience of Ronneby Spa in the late 19th century. It also reveals interplay between actors; doctor, landscape ar-chitect and gardener. The doctors’ role and way of writing indicate that they had knowledge of landscape ideals. The doctors argued that the design of the landscape affected the health of the patients and that a ‘moderate mental agitation’, i. e. sensory aspects, and movement were crucial for the cure. Those arguments interplayed with garden design ideas at that time which endorsed sensory experience and walking as part of the design and argued the importance of a varied experience. The case study of Ronneby Spa broadens the discussion on landscape heritage by including the role of the senses and the walking, the health perspective, several dimensions of garden design through different actors and new dimensions of landscape experience through an imaginary weave. It contributes to the notion of landscape as being dependant on people’s experience and perception, an approach to landscape now being fostered by the European Landscape Convention.


landscaping; public parks; psychological factors; physical activity; cultural values; design; history; sweden

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2009, number: 2009:67
ISBN: 978-91-576-7414-2
Publisher: Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Landskapsarkitektur

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture

URI (permanent link to this page)