Open spaces with the capacity to benefit human quality of life are more necessary today than ever before. The 1999 Urban Task Force pioneered a socio-political agenda in the United Kingdom to make towns and cities livable and capable of sustaining contemporary urban lifestyles. Achieving this requires approaches to open space design to be responsive to human experience in routine daily life. The paper aims to contribute by outlining the development and application of a new conceptual framework for landscape and urban design, called experiential landscape, which synthesizes human experience with its spatial expression. The concept of experiential landscape has foundations in a UK context but its theoretical principles and methods of application have international relevance to help open space place making become more sensitive to human psychological functioning. The paper will detail results from the application of experiential landscape methods and discuss what this reveals for community identity and human well-being in relation to open space use.The paper outlines the development of experiential landscape focusing in particular on elements of people space relations research largely overlooked in current practice guidance. These relate specifically to spatial and geometrical properties associated with human psychological and emotional well-being. Central are theories of place advocating the potential contribution that small scale linked open spaces can make to mitigate the impact of urban stress in human communities. The experiential landscape concept synthesizes this with the theory of centres, pioneered in the 1970’s and refined in recent work by architectural theorist Christopher Alexander, with other material relating to social and ecological dimensions of outdoor spatial configuration. The paper combines analysis of text and field based material in a multi-method approach to present evidence for fundamental properties of order, present in the natural and cultural world and associated with human psychological benefit, which can potentially resurrect people’s connection with intuitively preferred forms and with relations between human functioning and the spatial environment.The concept of experiential landscape includes a range of methods and tools for application and these will be described through examples of field work paying particular attention to how they can benefit processes of public participation. These include the development and application of semi-structured interview techniques, anthropological tracking and GIS based spatial mapping methodology. These tools are used to reveal otherwise hidden experiential dimensions of place perception and the paper will show through case study how this has helped to develop a better understanding of neighbourhood identity and design new open space environments for learning and social development in children.