Visions of nature and landscape type preferences: an exploration in The Netherlands
until further notice
SourceLandscape and Urban Planning, 63, 3, (2003), pp. 127-138
Article / Letter to editor
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FSW_MAW_SWMK Sociaal-wetenschappelijke milieukunde
SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Landscape and Urban Planning
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
A survey was carried out among inhabitants of Gennep, a small-town municipality in the east of The Netherlands, questioning about (1) the types of nature that people distinguish and the levels of naturalness ascribed to these types of nature; (2) the images that people hold of the appropriate relationship between people and nature and the level of adherence to these images, and (3) people’s preference of broadly defined landscape types. Types of nature inferred by means of factor analysis were labeled arcadian, wild and penetrative nature, the last category comprising elements such as mosquitoes and rats in the barn. Factor analysis was used as well to infer images of appropriate relationship, which appeared to hinge around the concepts of mastery over nature, responsibility for nature and participation in nature, respectively. Levels of adherence to the responsibility and participation images were very high, indicative of a ‘new biophilia’ mainstream in Dutch culture. Landscape types were defined, roughly, as (1) landscape made by and for people; (2) park-like, arcadian landscape; (3) wild, interactive landscape and (4) landscape “in which one may experience the greatness and forces of nature”. Strikingly, more than half of the respondents expressed preference for this last (‘deep ecology’) landscape type, with another third preferring the wild, interactive landscape. The highest preference of the ‘greatness and forces’ landscape was found among the respondents with high ascription of naturalness to the penetrative type of nature and respondents adhering to the participation-in-nature image of relationship. Preferences for landscape types as defined here should be distinguished from visual or behavioral landscape preferences. Even if people may not select landscapes of the ‘greatness and forces of nature’ in daily behaviors, these landscapes of wilderness and greatness do connect with human visions and desires.
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