The assessment of landscape expressivity: a free choice profiling approach

SP Harding, SE Burch, F Wemelsfelder

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper we explore a relational understanding of landscape qualities. We asked three independent groups of human observers to assess the expressive qualities of a range of landscapes in the UK and in Spain, either by means of personal visits or from a projected digital image. We employed a Free Choice Profiling (FCP) methodology, in which observers generated their own descriptive terminologies and then used these to quantify perceived landscape qualities on visual analogue scales. Data were analysed using Generalised Procrustes Analysis, a multivariate statistical technique that does not rely on fixed variables to identify underlying dimensions of assessment. The three observer groups each showed significant agreement, and generated two main consensus dimensions that suggested landscape ‘health’ and ‘development in time’ as common perceived themes of landscape expressivity. We critically discuss these outcomes in context of the landscape assessment literature, and suggest ways forward for further development and research.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0169507
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Early online date23 Jan 2017
Publication statusFirst published - 23 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note



  • Attitudes (psychology)
  • Charts
  • Digital imaging
  • Ellipses
  • Grasses
  • Mountains
  • Spatial and landscape ecology
  • Trees


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