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Title:Woody plant richness and landscape preference
Author(s):Zhao, Jie
Advisor(s):Sullivan, William C.
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Landscape preference
species richness
landscape simulation
Abstract:Biodiversity serves as a benchmark for healthy ecosystems. Sadly, many of our ecosystems are in danger because of a tremendous loss of biodiversity. Trees play an important role in preserving biodiversity in neighborhood landscapes. The problem is we do not know the extent to which people prefer a diversity of tree species in neighborhood landscapes. Landscape preference is a quick and essential assessment of how people imagine they would function in a landscape. This study explores how greenness levels and tree species richness affect preference for neighborhood landscapes. I conducted a systematic assessment of greenness and biodiversity and designed multiple virtual reality landscape simulations as alternatives to traditional photo and video methods of exploring landscape preference. The 18 landscape simulations I created were grouped into 2 levels of greenness (20-29% and 40-49% tree cover) and 3 levels of tree species richness (low, medium, and high). Each participant was randomly assigned to 9 scenes associated with one of the two greenness levels, and they rated their preferences for the different scenes on a written questionnaire. Results reinforce past research showing that people prefer greener landscapes. They also indicate that people do not prefer one level of tree species richness over another, suggesting that increased biodiversity does not lead to a decrease in preference. The implications are that tree species richness ought to be increased. Landscape architects and urban forest practitioners should pay more attention to preserving biodiversity in design. In addition, visual reality simulations should be explored as a research tool for creating more engaging landscape experiences.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Jie Zhao
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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