This paper explores the nature of a landscape design and planning process that could ensure the resilience and sustainability of suburban public space, and presents an argument that:
- public landscapes must be seen as multi-dimensional complex systems emerging from the coevolution of different players in the landscape community with the dynamics of their wider ecosystem; and
- the resilience of these spaces is dependent on collaborative decision-making, the engagement and empowerment of the local community, and an on-going responsive interaction with the site.
This approach is referred to as 'deep landscape design' and is expanded through the presentation of a number of guiding principles, which it is hoped will support designers, council staff and community leaders to explore it further. These guiding principles describe a facilitated, nested and iterative theory of design in which:
- the physical, ecological and cultural dimensions of landscape can be integrated holistically;
- multiple engagement methods are established enabling the inclusion of a large range of community partners; and
- those engaged in the design of the space are able to reflect on the impacts of their decisions and make changes accordingly.
The paper suggests that through the inclusion of deep design principles, small projects with a specific focus can initiate a process of increasing community knowledge, skill, and ownership in the design and maintenance of landscapes. A process that is necessary for the sustainability and resilience of public spaces.