Assessing the Visual Impact of Development on Open Space

A series of prototype scenic preference models have been developed from a set of community survey data collected for the Caboolture scenic amenity study to demonstrate an improved and structured approach for describing and analysing site-level effects of development on community preference for scenery. This suite of models can be used for field validation of scenic preference maps, allocation of scenic preference ratings to maps, and development impact assessment.

These models have been developed from landscape attributes derived from community descriptions of their responses to photos and uses a polygon-based approach to delineate and calculate the proportion of different landscape characteristics sensitive to small landscape features.

Basic analysis of peoples responses to scenery indicates that four factors influence community judgements about scenery: aesthetic values, natural values, utility values, and rural character. The proposed structure for describing landscapes and analysing peoples responses to scenery takes into account these four factors.

All models have been developed by multiple regression analysis using responses from individual people, instead of average community responses. This new procedure is more reliable than the cell-based data recording procedure reliant on decision-tree statistical analysis used in earlier scenic amenity studies.

This new approach should be adopted in any future scenic amenity studies. There is ample opportunity to further refine these prototype models using the full data sets from both the Lockyer and Caboolture Scenic Amenity Studies, to produce a suite of scenic preference models for operational development impact assessment.

The procedures described here provide a structured approach for governments to record and incorporate community opinions about scenery into the strategic planning of land use, and development impact assessment.



Geographic Coverage



Copyright Owner: State of Queensland


Preston, Robert (Author); Holland, Russel (Author)


Queensland Department of Environmental Protection Agency.: 2003