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Paper iaps_20_2008_333:
Simple design measures for increasing preference of urban wilderness

id iaps_20_2008_333
authors M. Hofmann
year 2008
title Simple design measures for increasing preference of urban wilderness
source Bonaiuto, Marino; Bonnes, Mirilia; Nenci, Anna Maria; Carrus, Giuseppe; URBAN DIVERSITIES, BIOSPHERE AND WELL-BEING: DESIGNING AND MANAGING OUR COMMON ENVIRONMENT (IAPS 20 Conference Proceedings on CD-Rom), 28 july-1 august 2008
summary The presented research is set against the background of urban brown-fields (e.g. fallow railway areas) being converted to publicly accessible green spaces. It tries to explain the impact of design alternatives and specific green space features on the residents’ preference. In a first step, it was identified how objective features of urban green spaces are being represented in human perception. Second, a model was developed and tested to explain how such features influence preference – via their impact on perceived beauty, security, and usability. We conducted a photo sorting experiment using photos of different urban green spaces, varying visible natural vs. anthropogenic influence and vegetation type. The participants sorted the photos into groups by subjective similarity and described the chosen groups and/or sorting criteria. They also ranked the photos in respect to personal preference. Using multi-dimensional scaling analysis, a five-dimensional model was found. The five perceptual dimensions were: vegetation height, artificiality, accessibility, prospect, and beauty. While vegetation height and artificiality have been found in studies on general landscape perception, especially the accessibility feature seems more related to urban contexts. A strong connection of the perceived artificiality to preference ratings was found, affirming the importance of visible human influence. For the second step, a series of experiments was conducted, using computer-generated images of urban green spaces. The first experiment used complexity and coherence as predictors for preference: When letting vegetation grow wild, this is considered not beautiful by a great share of the residents. It was proposed that this would be due to wilderness’s high degree of detailedness that may overstrain human information processing and thus lead to lower beauty and preference ratings. An increase in coherence of the scene should increase preference ratings. The results suggest that very simple design measures such as mowing parts of the area annually or adding clearly defined trails can do just that. A second experiment used further modifications of the images. It was to show that specific, low-cost features of green spaces can be used to enhance prospect and perceived human presence. These factors should raise preference ratings via increasing perceived security. The results of the study will be discussed.
keywords Simple Design, Preference, Urban Wilderness
series conference:IAPS:20
type Poster
email mathias.hofmann@psychologie.hu-berlin.de
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last changed 2009/10/26 07:18

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