Main content area

Retrospective and reconsideration: The first 25 years of the Steinitz framework for landscape architecture education and environmental design

Hollstein, Leah M.
Landscape and urban planning 2019 v.186 pp. 56-66
decision making, design for environment, education, landscaping, planning
Carl Steinitz’ “Framework for Theory” is a valuable heuristic for organizing environmental design processes. Originally designed for use in the discipline of landscape architecture, it has diffused into related environmental design disciplines; its most prominent current use is in the multidisciplinary approach of geodesign. The framework has been used for academic and professional purposes and modified multiple times since it was first published in 1990. The framework has proven especially robust in providing disciplinary focus, organizing multifaceted research and planning projects, bridging individual and collective design tensions, and parsing convoluted decision-making. This article revisits the use of frameworks in the environmental design disciplines, the framework’s creation and initial publication, and considers its early positionings that, while not widely followed, offer promising disciplinary services. It further explores limitations and criticisms of the framework, contemplates its use for emerging disciplinary needs, and advocates for the framework’s use in the environmental design disciplines.