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SCENIC QUALITY PROJECTS

The projects are summarised here and links provided to the project reports. Click here for a summary of these studies (PDF1.9 MB).

Project locations

Click on the following list of projects.

Landscape quality assessment of South Australia
Assessing the Visual Impact of Wind Farms in Coastal and Inland Locations
Assessing the Scenic Amenity of Large Remnant Trees in Agricultural Land
Measuring and Mapping the Scenic Quality of the South Australian Coast
Assessing the Impact on Scenic Quality of Coastal Developments
Measuring and Mapping the Scenic Quality of the Barossa Region
Advising Wind Farm Companies about the Scenic Quality Impact of Wind Farms at Myponga-Sellicks and Yankalilla
Assessing the Scenic Quality and Landscape Characteristics at the City of Victor Harbor
Measuring and Mapping the Scenic Quality of the River Murray, Lakes and Coorong
Assessing Visual Effects of Development along the River Murray
Measuring and Mapping the Scenic Quality of the Flinders Ranges
Generic Landscape Survey
Lake District National Park (UK) Landscape Quality Assessment
Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Quality Assessment Project
World's Best Landscapes Project

Landscape Quality Assessment of South Australia

Dr Andrew Lothian’s PhD dissertation was on the subject: Landscape Quality Assessment of South Australia.

The thesis explored the philosophical, perceptual, psychological and cultural aspects of landscape quality, reviewed methodologies internationally, and developed and applied a methodology to measure and map landscape quality for the whole of South Australia, a State of Australia nearly one million square kilometres in area.

SA Landscape character SA Landscape quality
South Australian Landscape Character South Australian Landscape Quality

The thesis (444 pages) is available via the University Library: http://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/handle/2440/37804

Projects carried out by Scenic Solutions include the following.

Assessing the Visual Impact of Wind Farms in Coastal and Inland Locations

Dr Lothian conducted private research to assess the visual impact of wind farms in coastal and inland areas of South Australia. It examined 21 coastal and 47 inland locations. The research determined that wind farms diminished scenic quality in all coastal locations. For inland areas, where the prevailing landscape quality was low (< 5.1), the presence of a wind farm actually enhanced scenic quality through introducing interest in an otherwise dull landscape.

windfarm coast

Coastal wind farms: ratings of scenes with and without the wind farm

windfarm inland

Inland wind farms: ratings of scenes with and without the wind farm

Results of the research were presented at several international conferences including the European Wind Energy Conference in London in 2004. A paper was published in Geographical Research, 46:2, June 2008, 196 - 207

Paper: Visual Impact Assessment of Wind Farms in South Australia (19 pages, PDF 0.5 MB)

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Assessing the Scenic Amenity of Large Remnant Trees in Agricultural Land

The project was commissioned by the South Australian Native Vegetation Council which has a statutory responsibility to consider amenity aspects in its decisions on applications to clear trees. Such applications are common for vineyard development and pivot irrigation.

leaning tree large tree trees

The project involved photographing scattered and isolated trees in various regions, classifying the trees and selecting over 100 photographs for the survey. Based on the results, a mathematical model was derived which enables assessors in the field to determine the likely scenic quality provided by the tree(s).

Report:

Cover, Summary, Contents, Background (13 pages, 0.1 MB)
Amenity value of trees (18 pages, 0.4 MB)
Acquiring the data (15 pages, 1.2 MB)
Analysis of Results (32 pages, 1.0 MB)
Predictive model, workbook, conclusions, references (17 pages, 0.5 MB)
Appendixes (19 pages, 1.8 MB)

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Measuring and Mapping the Scenic Quality of the South Australian coast

Recognising the growing pressures on the coast from development, marinas, aquaculture and wind farms, the Coastal Protection Branch of the Department for Environment and Heritage commissioned Scenic Solutions to measure and map scenic quality for the entire 4,800 km South Australian coast. The report concluded with comprehensive recommendations covering planning of the coast. The report of this project won the PIA National Award for Planning Excellence in 2006.

Yorke map

Scenic Quality Map of Kangaroo Island, Yorke and Fleurieu Peninsulas

Report:

Cover
Contents (14 pages)
Chapter 1 Introduction (3 pages)
Chapter 2 Study of Aesthetics & Coastal Landscapes (19 pages, 1.9 MB)

Chapter 3 Acquiring the Data (33 pages, 2.2 MB
Chapter 4 Analysis of Data (34 pages, 4.3 MB)
Chapter 5 Mapping Coastal Scenic Quality (11 pages, 1.1 MB)
Chapter 6 Coastal Development Survey (8 pages, 2.8 MB)
Chapter 7 Application to Policy, Planning & Development Management (21 pages, 0.7 MB)
Chapter 8 Conclusions (3 pages)
References (4 pages)
Appendix 1 Project Brief (2 pages)
Appendix 2 Gannt Chart of Coastal Viewscapes Project Implementation (1 page)
Appendix 3 Scenes in survey by regions (11 pages, 2.4 MB)

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Assessing the Impact on Scenic Quality of Coastal Developments

Complementary to the Coastal Viewscapes project, a separate survey was conducted of coastal development covering housing development, marinas and aquaculture to assess the community’s perception of these.

For Sale sign Holdfast Shores  O'Sullivans marina

Report:

Coastal Development Survey (8 pages, 2.8 MB)

Measuring and Mapping the Scenic Quality of the Barossa region

The project was commissioned by the Barossa and Light Councils and Planning SA. Its purpose was to assess the scenic quality of the Barossa Valley Region rural landscapes outside of townships.

Barossa vines1 Barossa vines 2 Barossa vines 3

Report:

Advising Wind Farm Companies about the Scenic Quality Impact of Wind Farms at Myponga-Sellicks and Yankalilla

Advice was provided to several wind farm companies regarding the likely visual impact of wind farms at Myponga and Yankalilla and also advising on possible colouring of the Myponga wind farm to reduce its visual impact.

Viewpoint 12 white Viewpoint 12_H8 beige Viewpoint 12_H133 blue
White coloured turbines Beige coloured turbines Blue coloured turbines

Assessing the Scenic Quality and Landscape Characteristics at the City of Victor Harbor

The project was commissioned by the City of Victor Harbor as part of its strategic planning process. The tasks were to describe the landscape characteristics and assess scenic quality for the region and make recommendations covering landscape amenity for strategic planning.

Victor Harbor

Victor Harbor Scenic Quality Ratings

Report: Victor Harbor report [PDF 8.2 MB]

Measuring and Mapping the Scenic Quality of the River Murray, Lakes and Coorong

The project was commissioned by the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation. Its purpose was to measure and map the scenic quality of the River Murray, Lakes Alexandrina and Albert and the Coorong.

Riverland ratings Trench ratings lakes coorong ratings
Riverland ratings Murray Trench ratings

Lakes & Coorong ratings

Report:

Assessing Visual Effects of Development along the River Murray

The project was an adjunct to the scenic quality survey and involved the community rating scenes of houses, houseboats, waterfronts, caravan and recreation areas, and irrigation pumps.

moored houseboats R Murray pump Wharf and shacks
Moored houseboats Pumping structure Wharf and shack

Report: Development survey (PDF 1.1 MB)

Measuring and Mapping the Scenic Quality of the Flinders Ranges

The project was initiated by the Department for Environment and Heritage. Its purpose was to measure and map the scenic quality of the Flinders Ranges, comprising arid mountainous ranges in the north of South Australia.

Flinders Ranges scenic quality map

Report:
Cover, summary, contents (PDF 0.5 MB)
Introduction, Arid mountainous landscapes (PDF 0.1 MB)
Significance of the Flinders Ranges landscape (PDF 1.7 MB)
Acquisition of data (PDF 1.8 MB)
Analysis of data & mapping scenic quality (PDF 3 MB)
Discussion, conclusions and references (PDF 2 MB)
Appendixes (PDF 2.7 MB)

Heysen Range panorama

Heysen Range, Flinders Ranges

GENERIC LANDSCAPE SURVEY

This landscape survey, carried out as private research in 2012, examined whether generic landscapes approach might provide an alternative to measuring and mapping landscape quality, and also seek to put landscape quality assessment on a more scientific footing. Scenes were digitally altered so as to provide scenes with and without hills, trees and water. The ratings provided an indication of the influence of each component to landscape quality.

Scene wth hill Scene without hill
Scene with hill (rating 5.12) and same scene without hill (rating 3.83)

Report:
Generic landscape survey (11 MB)

LAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK (UK) LANDSCAPE QUALITY ASSESSMENT

Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw

During 2013, a major project was commenced and completed of measuring and mapping the landscape quality of the Lake District National Park in England. The Lake District, probably the UK's foremost National Park which attracts over 15 million visitors annually, is of outstanding beauty and has long been the subject of artists, photographers, poets such as Wordsworth and writers such as John Ruskin, Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome.

The project was undertaken with the cooperation and support of the National Park Authority and the results of the project were provided gratis to the Authority. The project commenced with three week-long photographic trips through the area in March (winter snow), June (spring flowers) and July (summer). An internet survey was then compiled and invitations to participate were emailed to over 1500 addresses in the UK. Over 500 participated in the survey, the results of which were analysed and the landscape quality mapped. The project ended with a presentation at the National Park headquarters in Kendal in mid-November.

Powerpoint summary of Lake District project (16 MB)

Lake District Project Summary (extended) (2.4 MB)

Lake District Report 1 Cover, summary, contents (1 MB)
Lake District Report 2 Introduction, British involvement, method (1.5 MB)
Lake District Report 3 Acquiring the data (7 MB)
Lake District Report 4 Analysis of results (8.5 MB)
Lake District Report 5 Mapping (26 MB)
Lake District Report 6 Retrospect and prospect (1.9 MB)

Appendix 1 Photos of seasonal change (2.5 MB)
Appendix 2 Survey (1 MB)
Appendix 3 Invitation letter
Appendix 4 Scene locations, ratings, component scores (0.1 MB)
Appendix 5 Photographs, histograms, statistics (18 MB)
Appendix 6 Survey comments
Appendix 7 Quantitative results


Lake District Landscape Quality Map

MOUNT LOFTY RANGES LANDSCAPE QUALITY ASSESSMENT PROJECT

View from Pike & Joyce winery
View from a winery near Lenswood

During 2015 a major project was commenced and completed to measure and map the landscape quality of the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia. This was been a long term aim as several early landscape assessments were carried out in this area without success. There was also considerable interest during the 1970s to declare the area an English-style National Park under mainly private ownership and management. Currently there is interest in nominating the region as a World Heritage Area on the basis of it representing the Wakefield plan of settlement for South Australia.

The project commenced with three months of photographic trips throughout the region during January - April, 2015. An internet survey was then compiled and invitations to participate were emailed to 1700 addresses of clubs and associations in the Ranges and Adelaide. Over 500 participated in the survey, the results of which were analysed and the landscape quality mapped.

Powerpoint Summary of the Mt Lofty Ranges Project (6 MB)

Mt L R Project Extended Summary (3 MB)

Mt LR 1 Cover
Mt L R 2 Executive summary & Contents
Mt L R 3 Chapters 1 Introduction & 2 History
Mt L R 4 Chapters 3 Landscape measurement (14 MB) & 4 Mt L R Landscape (3 MB)
Mt L R 5 Chapter 5 Acquiring the data (4 MB)
Mt L R 6 Chapter 6 Data Analysis (12 MB)
Mt L R 7 Chapter 7 Mapping (17 MB)
Mt L R 8 Chapter 8 Retrospect and Prospect
Mt L R 9 References
Mt L R Appendix 1 Invitation letter
Mt L R Appendix 2 Scene locations, ratings & scores
Mt L R Appendix 3 Scenes and histograms of ratings (14 MB)
Mt L R Appendix 4 Respondent comments

Mt L R landscape quality

Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Quality Map

WORLD'S BEST LANDSCAPES PROJECT

Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia - Top rated scene rating 8.55

Having measured and mapped landscapes in South Australia and the Lake District in the UK, all of which averaged in the range 5 to 7, the question arose, what ratings would the World’s best landscapes achieve? What are the characteristics of such landscapes? Where are such landscapes located? In early 2016 while in Jerusalem I carried out a survey of the World's best landscapes. The selection of scenes was based on sites in the World Heritage List and also in lists of the World's Wonders. A set of 45 such landscapes were selected and 3 images of each chosen plus a few from South Australia and the Lake District. The total survey comprised 143 scenes.

The survey was placed on Survey Monkey, invitations to participate emailed out and after 16 days the survey had 146 responses. This was lower than expected. There were 128 valid responses, a confidence interval of 8.66%, somewhat greater than the 5% target but sufficient to indicate community preferences.

The top rated scene was of the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia with a rating of 8.55. The group of three scenes from the Lakes also was the highest group rating, 7.93. It had been expected that the ratings of the these, the World's best landscapes would be in the 9's and 10's and the reason they were lower was probably because respondents did not know the range of scenes in the survey and so reserved their 9's and 10's.

The results ranked the 143 scenes and the 45 groups of scenes.

Summary - World Best Landscapes Project
World Best Landscapes Report
World Best Landscapes Appendices

Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine, Chile - 2nd top rated scene 8.25



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