Objective Design brief is the main basis for determining capital construction projects and preparing design documents, whose preparation entails strict compliance with scientific and rigorous processes and methods. In the current construction process of landscape architecture projects in China, the preparation of design brief relies more on the experience of practitioners than on reliable evidence, and it is difficult to control the scientificity and rationality of the design basis. If landscape architectural programming is incorporated in the construction process of landscape architecture projects by designers and building owners to demonstrate the scale, nature, positioning and design requirements of such projects, and the preparation process and content of design brief as the basis for design are controlled before the design is carried out, it may be an effective way to promote scientific decision-making in landscape design. Landscape architectural programming is precisely a set of theories and methods for studying the process of design basis formation. As a matter of fact, the use of programming to enhance the scientificity of design decision-making has received considerable attention in the field of urban design and architecture. However, the current research on landscape architectural programming is still in its infancy, and there is an urgent need to clarify the connotations and attributes and develop the research methods of landscape architectural programming.
Methods/process This research firstly traces and comparatively analyzes the development process of programming in the fields of urban design, architectural design and landscape architecture, and comparatively analyzes the design programming in the three human settlement environment disciplines in terms of the chronological position of programming in practice, the connotation of programming and the purpose of implementing programming, so as to put forward the broad and narrow connotations of landscape architectural programming, and point out the specific definitions and essential attributes of landscape planning. Secondly, from the perspective of scientific research, according to the process and hierarchy of scientific research, landscape architectural programming is reviewed as an independent research topic, and the research framework of landscape architectural programming in line with the characteristics and needs of the landscape architecture specialty is explored.
Results/conclusion The research shows that design programming has two layers of connotation: Design programming in the broad sense is the programming of the whole cycle of project practice, covering the whole process of project planning, approval, design, construction, use, etc. Design programming in the narrow sense is the study of design basis and its formation process, which is positioned after project approval and before design. The current landscape architectural programming should prioritize the connotation in the narrow sense. As to the definition of the concept, landscape architectural programming refers to the research work in which landscape architects propose a combination of qualitative and quantitative design bases through various methods and procedures, which requires landscape architects to, following the target of a landscape architecture construction project, make rational and objective analysis of the social context and other relevant factors of the project by multidimensional investigation methods based on field investigation in combination with personal experience and technical specifications, and to justify the construction target as appropriate. Landscape architectural programming is evidence-based, which advocates evidence-based science rather than experience, and can thus contribute to scientific decision-making of design. The research framework of landscape architectural programming contains epistemology, theoretical perspective, programming methodology, programming procedure, programming methodology, and programming technology. The relationship between these 5 parts is as follows: Programming methodology is a complete set of action plans necessary for programming and a systematic collection of multiple methods and approaches, which links epistemology and theoretical perspective upward, and coordinates the three aspects of programming procedure, programming methodology and programming technology downward; programming procedure serves as an operation program for the modes and steps of programming practice, involving a variety of specific planning methods; programming methodology depends on the support of various techniques or tools in data collection, processing and analysis. In addition, this research integrates the author’s research and practical experience, and initially proposes a six-phase programming procedure: Goal presetting, field investigation and analysis, concept and spatial conception, goal justification, programming expression, and post-programming evaluation. This research also proposes 6 alternative programming methods including the survey research method, content analysis method, hierarchical analysis method, semantic analysis method, importance-satisfaction analysis method, and card analysis method, as well as 4 alternative programming techniques including the programming information matrix, programming periodic table, public participation model, and design competition model.