Early Italian and French semiological approaches to environmental meaning were advanced by philosophers and architects. The empirically oriented work in environmental psychology, sociology and geography on the topic originated in English speaking countries. Both approaches are currently being broadened to take account of complex multifunctional, multicodal, multivariate problems and of advances in the cognitive sciences. But recently there has been an awareness that the subject/object split dominating research on environmental meaning might have to be replaced by the ecological view that the environment issues meaningful information directly geared to perception and action of the (human) species.