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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Dynamics of integrating landscape values in landscape character assessment: the hidden dominance of the objective outsider

Butler, Andrew


While there has been extensive research undertaken on the values which insiders attribute to landscape there is a lack of literature which looks at how planning professionals handle landscape values. In this article, I develop a framework for questioning how landscape values are taken up in landscape planning, with the aim of conceptualising what landscape values mean in practice. This is undertaken through addressing landscape assessment, more specifically analysing how landscape character assessment (LCA) represents a critical point in the framing of landscape values. Through a synthesis of research on landscape values I examine the underlying logic of the LCA documents. I conclude that the values communicated in these assessments tend to be those of ‘objective' outside experts, predominantly based on aesthetics and focusing on the physicality of landscape. This I argue leads to a questioning the legitimacy of the LCA approach.


Landscape values; landscape character assessment; objective outsider; European Landscape Convention

Published in

Landscape Research
2016, volume: 41, number: 2, pages: 239-252

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture
Human Geography

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)