Group differences in the aesthetic evaluation of nature development plans: A multilevel approach

A.E. van den Berg*, CAJ Vlek, JF Coeterier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

206 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The study presented here addresses theoretical, methodological and practical aspects of the issue of group differences in the aesthetic evaluation of natural landscapes. Beauty ratings of an agrarian landscape and five computer simulations of nature development plans in this landscape were collected in a field study. Three different user groups, each consisting of 28 respondents, were distinguished: farmers, residents (nonfarmers) and visiting cyclists. Ratings on predictor variables were given by the respondents themselves, as well as by a group of 12 experts on nature development. Results of multilevel statistical analysis show differences in beauty ratings of nature development plans as a function of user background. Beauty ratings of residents and visitors were positively related to typical characteristics of nature development plans (wetness, roughness and noncultivatedness), while farmers' beauty ratings were negatively related to these characteristics. In each group, beauty ratings were positively related to perceived complexity, coherence, mystery and biodiversity. However, perceptions of these characteristics were found to be highly subjective. Possible explanations of the user-group differences in terms of background variables such as familiarity and education level are discussed, as well as implications for theoretical and management concerns. (C) 1998 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-157
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun-1998

Keywords

  • LANDSCAPE PREFERENCES
  • PERCEPTION
  • ENVIRONMENT
  • VEGETATION
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • BEHAVIOR
  • SETTINGS
  • BEAUTY

Cite this