How to Include Scenic Assessment in Park Planning: An Approach Based on Geographic Modelling and Objective Community Participation

With trends toward increased use of scientific and community-validated data in park and open space planning, there is a need to ensure that the rigor behind assessment of ‘subjective’ resource values is commensurate with the accuracy of relatively ‘hard’ resource attributes, such as economic potential or biodiversity value. An open and scientific procedure was used to map the types of scenery preferred by potential visitors to the Glen Rock regional park, about 130 km southwest of Brisbane. Scenic amenity maps were included with GIS data on other resource values and community preferences to develop a recreation and multiple use management plan for the property. The procedure utilises two criteria to map scenic amenity, defined as a measure of the community’s appreciation of landscape aesthetics. The first criteria, visual exposure, estimates the extent that a place in the landscape can be seen. Information on the pattern and intensity of anticipated recreation use was combined with topographic data to produce visual exposure maps. The second criteria, scenic preference, is a rating of peoples liking for different types of scenery. A set of 21 carefully selected photos was shown to 60 potential park visitors and neighbours to identify landscape features that affect people’s preferences. This process identified preferred landscapes, such as shady mountain-tops, and non-preferred landscapes, such as dry creek beds. Responses also provided insight into people’s preferences for recreation infrastructure. A mathematical equation was developed from measurements of photographs. These equations were applied to GIS data on land cover and topography to produce a map of scenic preference The scenic amenity assessment has affected recommendations on the planned location and design of recreation infrastructure and recreation trails to enhance visitor experience. The method demonstrates the benefits of using a community-based approach to assess scenic amenity for recreation and multiple use planning of parks and open space.



Geographic Coverage



Copyright Owner: State of Queensland


Waring, Brett (Author); Preston, Robert (Author); Macdonald, Steve (Author)


Environmental Protection Agency