Preference for different urban greenscape designs: a choice experiment using virtual environments

Robert van Dongen (Corresponding author), Harry Timmermans

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Abstract

Nature in cities serves a multitude of purposes, one of which is that it provides citizens opportunities to recover from stressful daily urban life. Such stress recovering effects of nature can be experienced through urban green, which in urban planning and design contexts can be divided into large natural areas - urban green space - and small scale elements in urban streets: the urban greenscape. The current study aims at finding the extent to which various small scale natural elements in residential streets and their possible configurations influence citizens' preferences for those streets. The research was conducted through an online survey in four cities in the Netherlands (n = 4,956). It used stated choice methods in a virtual environment street design. The method yielded high quality data, indicating that the use of virtual environments and imagery is suitable for stated choice research in the built environment. The results show that especially trees very strongly influence preference, indicating they deserve more attention and space in cities. Grass, which is typically favored by local governments, and vertical green have the smallest effects in residential streets. Furthermore, the concept of greenscape intensity is introduced as the intensities of both the element and the configuration were found to be highly relevant. The results clearly show that the higher either of these intensities, the more likely a respondent will prefer the greenscape design. Furthermore, low intensity on the one can be compensated by high intensity on the other. With these results, urban design professionals and local governments can better trade-off the different aspects of costs versus positive effects of urban greenscape designs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number126435
Number of pages11
JournalUrban Forestry & Urban Greening
Volume44
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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urban design
Local Government
residential street
local government
experiment
Environment Design
City Planning
Imagery (Psychotherapy)
Poaceae
urban planning
Research
data quality
Netherlands
trade-off
citizen
imagery
grass
Costs and Cost Analysis
online survey
urban areas

Keywords

  • Greenscape intensity
  • Virtual environments
  • Urban greenscape
  • Urban green
  • Preference
  • Stated choice modeling

Cite this

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title = "Preference for different urban greenscape designs: a choice experiment using virtual environments",
abstract = "Nature in cities serves a multitude of purposes, one of which is that it provides citizens opportunities to recover from stressful daily urban life. Such stress recovering effects of nature can be experienced through urban green, which in urban planning and design contexts can be divided into large natural areas - urban green space - and small scale elements in urban streets: the urban greenscape. The current study aims at finding the extent to which various small scale natural elements in residential streets and their possible configurations influence citizens' preferences for those streets. The research was conducted through an online survey in four cities in the Netherlands (n = 4,956). It used stated choice methods in a virtual environment street design. The method yielded high quality data, indicating that the use of virtual environments and imagery is suitable for stated choice research in the built environment. The results show that especially trees very strongly influence preference, indicating they deserve more attention and space in cities. Grass, which is typically favored by local governments, and vertical green have the smallest effects in residential streets. Furthermore, the concept of greenscape intensity is introduced as the intensities of both the element and the configuration were found to be highly relevant. The results clearly show that the higher either of these intensities, the more likely a respondent will prefer the greenscape design. Furthermore, low intensity on the one can be compensated by high intensity on the other. With these results, urban design professionals and local governments can better trade-off the different aspects of costs versus positive effects of urban greenscape designs.",
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author = "{van Dongen}, Robert and Harry Timmermans",
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AB - Nature in cities serves a multitude of purposes, one of which is that it provides citizens opportunities to recover from stressful daily urban life. Such stress recovering effects of nature can be experienced through urban green, which in urban planning and design contexts can be divided into large natural areas - urban green space - and small scale elements in urban streets: the urban greenscape. The current study aims at finding the extent to which various small scale natural elements in residential streets and their possible configurations influence citizens' preferences for those streets. The research was conducted through an online survey in four cities in the Netherlands (n = 4,956). It used stated choice methods in a virtual environment street design. The method yielded high quality data, indicating that the use of virtual environments and imagery is suitable for stated choice research in the built environment. The results show that especially trees very strongly influence preference, indicating they deserve more attention and space in cities. Grass, which is typically favored by local governments, and vertical green have the smallest effects in residential streets. Furthermore, the concept of greenscape intensity is introduced as the intensities of both the element and the configuration were found to be highly relevant. The results clearly show that the higher either of these intensities, the more likely a respondent will prefer the greenscape design. Furthermore, low intensity on the one can be compensated by high intensity on the other. With these results, urban design professionals and local governments can better trade-off the different aspects of costs versus positive effects of urban greenscape designs.

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