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Research article2008Peer reviewed

Landscape metrics and visual topology in the analysis of landscape preference

Sang, Neil; Miller, David; Ode, Asa


Recognition of the value of landscapes, environmentally, economically, and to quality of life-and, importantly, the embedding of these concepts in legislation such as the European Landscape Convention-has led to the need for an 'objective' assessment of these values and the potential impact of changes to them. But studies relating preference information to metric analysis of planimetric viewsheds have so far provided only limited explanation of preference. It has been suggested that this is due to the effect of perspective on the visual topology of the view generating different metrics in perspective from those on the flat map. The completion of the Pan European Study under the EU Framework 5 Visulands project provided a large sample of preference responses to a limited number of computer-generated simple landscape scenarios. As such this is an ideal opportunity to test the significance of perspective on metric correlation with preference. This paper considers the degree to which metrics are altered by a panoramic or viewshed analysis, and the significance of this for any correlation with the preference scores. The implications for the role of the respective media in planning are considered, including that of 3D visualisation as a means for eliciting opinion on landscape preference.


landscape preference; landscape metrics; visualisation; landscape analysis; visual topology

Published in

Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design
2008, Volume: 35, number: 3, pages: 504-520