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Kevin Raaphorst is a PhD Researcher and Jr. Lecturer at the chair group of Landscape Architecture. His background is in spatial planning and human geography, as well as in geo-information science. His primary research interests lie in the socio-political implications of how space and place are visually represented.
Within landscape architecture and planning, visual representations of landscape designs constitute the primary means of communication. Despite this reliance on the visual, there is no visual research approach available that allows a critical reflection on how these representations function within planning and design processes. Within my PhD project, I intend to develop such an approach by combining theory and methods from disciplines such as communication science, art history, and political geography. I engage in concepts such as semiotics (Barthes, Eco, Peirce), simulacra (Baudrillard), and power/knowledge (Foucault) to describe how the visual communication (i.e. creation and interpretation) of landscape designs influences the design process.
I apply this framework within the STW consortium Integral and Sustainable Design of Multifunctional Flood Defences (http://www.flooddefences.nl/, project no. 08) in cooperation with Dutch knowledge institute Deltares. The role of visual communication within the participatory design processes of these Multifunctional Flood Defence (MFFD) Landscapes is often overlooked. I intend to study how these images function within the design process of MFFD landscape projects, and contribute to more effective and knowledgeable communication between actors.