An experiential landscape is not an objective

phenomenon in the sense that it already exists out

there in a predetermined form waiting to be

discovered. Revealing and then interpreting it is a

primarily qualitative pursuit. Ask 10 trained and

experienced landscape or urban design profes-

sionals to record their place perceptions of a

particular setting and you will get 10 different

results, even if instructions given to them about

how they should interpret the concept of place

perception is very precise. There is likely to be

some common ground governed by their shared

professional background and expertise, but there

will be many significant differences. This also

applies if you ask the same of 10 inhabitants of the

same neighbourhood, although here our experi-

ence shows that the differences far outweigh any

commonality because the relationship that people

develop with their home surroundings is so

intensely personal. The central point is, though,

that it makes no sense at all to ask which of these

is right and which is wrong, and it makes no sense

to ask which is better, more valuable, more signif-

icant, more important etc. We simply do not have

any way available to us of giving sensible, reason-

able answers to those questions. The reality is that

they are all right because, just like a fingerprint,

place perception is something that is unique to the

individual and is driven by a raft of personal

predisposition, preference and prejudice, influ-

enced by cultural, social, educational and

professional factors, and much more besides

(Figure 6.1).