In this article we pay attention to some theoretical backgrounds for the redesign of nineteenth-century public parks in Central and Eastern Europe. The research is part of a larger project ‘The design history of nineteenth-century public parks in Central and Eastern Europe; contemporary use and future development’ (HYPPE), initiated by the Faculty of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism in Budapest, in which nine schools of landscape architecture in nine different countries in Central and Eastern Europe participate and collaborate.
We will focus here on some theoretical backgrounds, that form the foundation for a research and design approach, in which the diversity and similarity of the sites, contexts and design problems can be assured. Product (plan and realisation) and process (design) play a role in the parks as object of planning and design; on the one hand we distinguish between land, landscape and landscape architecture, on the other one — at the same time the difference in approaches between science and design play a role in the relation between research and design.
In the second part backgrounds and principles, that underpin the relation between conservation and development in historical settings of parks are dealt with. Different design approaches — from restoration to complete reconstruction are highlighted. Applying these principles to nineteenth-century public parks in Central and Eastern Europe shows, where generic backgrounds and specifics of site, history and culture meet.
In the third part the new challenges for landscape architecture, that society requires from contemporary planning and design is elaborated. Energy transition, water management and the creation of healthy environments for people are as such not new for landscape architecture, but in this stage new steps have to be taken, that reach beyond, what is already practised. Here the explorative and experimental character of the design approach comes to the surface because for these aspects there are no precedents yet, they have to be developed by practice, research on evidence and imagining solutions, that are beyond the usual practice of energy transition, water management and the creation of healthy environments for people. For landscape architecture a synthetical and coherent design concept forms the core of the contribution; the search for a meaningful new order.