People needs in the urban landscape: Analysis of Landscape And Urban Planning contributions

Rodney H. Matsuoka, Rachel Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

274 Citations (Scopus)


The articles published in Landscape and Urban Planning during the past 16 years provide valuable insights into how humans interact with outdoor urban environments. This review paper explores the wide spectrum of human dimensions and issues, or human needs, addressed by 90 of these studies. As a basis for analysis, the major themes tapped by the findings were classified into two overarching groups containing three categories each. The Nature needs, directly linked with the physical features of the environmental setting, were categorized in terms of contact with nature, aesthetic preference, and recreation and play. The role of the environment is less immediate in the Human-interaction group, which includes the issues of social interaction, citizen participation in the design process, and community identity. Most significantly, the publications offer strong support for the important role nearby natural environments play in human well-being. Urban settings that provide nature contact are valuable not only in their own right, but also for meeting other needs in a manner unique to these more natural settings. In addition, although addressed in different ways, remarkable similarities exist concerning these six people requirements across diverse cultures and political systems. Urban residents worldwide express a desire for contact with nature and each other, attractive environments, places in which to recreate and play, privacy, a more active role in the design of their community, and a sense of community identity. The studies reviewed here offer continued evidence that the design of urban landscapes strongly influences the well-being and behavior of users and nearby inhabitants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-19
Number of pages13
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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