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Enhancing visual preference of ecological rehabilitation sites

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Title: Enhancing visual preference of ecological rehabilitation sites
Author: Hands, Denise E.; Brown, Robert D.
Abstract: A study was undertaken to assess visual preference of ecological rehabilitation of decommissioned industrial lands. Computerized visual simulations were used to illustrate the effects of alternative design treatments at two stages of development: establishment and maturity. Employees who work at the industrial site were used as a subject group and were asked to complete a questionnaire, with a resulting response rate of 65% (n=60). Results indicated that the common perception that rehabilitation sites are `messy' was also a concern in this industrial site. However, increasing the amount and diversity of color, as well as visible indicators of `human intent' for the landscape, increased preference levels, as indicated by rank coefficient analysis and multi-dimensional scaling (MDS). There was no statistically significant difference between preference levels at establishment and at maturity of the landscape. Design implications arising from the results of this study included: (a) a significant increase in visual preference was achieved through the use of `vernacular cues to care' such as the addition of cultural elements like bird boxes and large rocks; (b) clustering and banding of vegetation had no apparent effect on visual preference; (c) sparseness of vegetation was a major reason for negative preference, thus any technique that contributes to the rapid formation of ground cover should increase visual preference; and (d) the amount and diversity of color had a substantial effect on visual preference and should be maximized.
Date: 2002
Citation: Hands, Denise E., and Robert D. Brown. 2002. Enhancing Visual Preference of Ecological Rehabilitation Sites. Landscape and Urban Planning. (58) 57-70.

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