Measuring the subjective value of windowscape: a novel method to evaluate urban landscape preferences

Mirza, Leila and Linzey, Michael and Byrd, Hugh (2014) Measuring the subjective value of windowscape: a novel method to evaluate urban landscape preferences. In: International Conference of Cultural Landscape (INCUL5), 17-18 November 2014, Tehran, Iran.

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Abstract

Landscape plays a crucial role in modern life for urban dwellers even though the majority of their time is spent indoors [1]. In this context, vision is the dominant sense that connects urban residents to landscapes. The visual quality of urban environments, consequently, can have a great influence on the quality of life. But how can visual quality be assessed? Research into urban landscape preference is relatively limited, and there are significant shortcomings with existing methods. For example, the method of asking people to rate photographs of the scenes cannot capture the subjective value of urban environments as experienced on a daily basis.
This paper presents a novel method, Active Perception Technique (APT), to measure visual preference for everyday urban scenes. Windowscape is used as a convenient, useful tool in this method. In addition to photographic evidence, APT uses graphic responses where participants are asked to draw from memory what they recall seeing of their windowscapes. APT is designed to identify the most and least visually preferred features of urban windowscapes, and hence how to combine common urban features to predict preference for windowscapes.
The method is demonstrated by studying postgraduate students of two Auckland universities. APT produced several original results. As one might expect, natural features of urban windowscapes were preferred over built ones; however, some natural features contributed more strongly to overall preference than others. Preferences for some features were found to differ across home and workplace windowscapes. Personal association with features was also found to impact on visual preferences.
Results obtained from APT can be useful for policy makers, and planners to enhance the visual quality of built environments. APT may also have other uses; including examining the perceived significance of cultural features in everyday urban landscapes. Furthermore, it can show how landscape preferences differ between populations, such as tourists and local residents.

Keywords:Urban Landscape, Preference, Windowscape, Active Perception Technique
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K320 Landscape studies
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K440 Urban studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:17468
Deposited On:19 May 2015 08:19

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