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Scenic Solutions is a consultancy practice based in Adelaide, South Australia, which has completed a series of studies and consultancies that have quantified scenic quality, developed tools for its prediction, assessed the visual impact of developments and advised on policies.

Scenic Solutions was established by Dr Andrew Lothian as a consultancy practice following his PhD on the subject of Landscape Quality Assessment of South Australia.


Landscape quality assessment

Assess the scenic quality of an area to provide quantitative and spatial information; small scale through to regional in scale.

Development assessment

Assess the change to landscape quality before and after developments, including analysis of options to minimise scenic impacts.

Policy development

Assist in the development of land use planning policies, management measures, and other policy initiatives to guide the protection, enhancement and management of landscape quality. 


Advice on the likely scenic quality of an area or effect of development & land use change on scenic quality.

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Although the methodology employed by Scenic Solutions was developed and applied in South Australia, landscape quality can be assessed throughout Australia, at local, regional, and State levels, and even internationally.

Similarly the assessment of land use change and of proposed developments on landscape quality can be undertaken anywhere in Australia.

Examples include wind turbine developments, major energy-related infrastructure, major road and other transport infrastructure (e.g. airports, ports, railways), and changes in land use such as vineyard or forestry developments replacing traditional grazing or arable uses.

Small projects draw on the knowledge and expertise gained from previous work in identifying the likely scenic quality of given landscapes and to assess the likely visual impact of developments.

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Projects completed by Scenic Solutions include:

  • Assessing the visual impact of wind farms in coastal and inland locations in South Australia
  • Assessing the scenic amenity value of large remnant trees on agricultural land in South Australia
  • Measuring and mapping the landscape quality of the South Australian coast (4,800 km)
  • Assessing the visual impact of coastal developments including housing, marinas and aquaculture
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the Barossa region
  • Advising a power authority about the scenic quality impact of wind farms in a range of localities across South Australia  
  • Advising wind farm companies about the scenic quality impact of wind farms at Myponga-Sellicks and Yankalilla 
  • Assessing the scenic quality and landscape characteristics of part of the City of Victor Harbor and advising planning policy
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the River Murray, Lakes and Coorong in South Australia
  • Assessing community perceptions of developments on the River Murray and advising on development policy
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia
  • Advising on the visual impacts associated with water infrastructure
  • Measuring and mapping the scenic quality of the Lake District in England
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A summary of these projects is available here.


Scenic Solutions has provided advice and services to: 

  • South Australian Government agencies including Department for Environment and Heritage, Department of Water, and Land and Biodiversity Conservation and Planning SA 
  • Local Government including the Barossa Council, Light Regional Council and the City of Victor Harbor 
  • ETSA Utilities 
  • Origin Energy 
  • Trust Power
  • SA Water

Clients come from the following areas:

  • Federal government agencies 
  • State government agencies; planning, environment, natural resources management, tourism, coastal management, development assessment
  • Local government authorities for local landscape assessments, development assessments 
  • Companies such as energy and water utilities and land developers 
  • Consultants preparing environmental impact assessments and development assessment reports

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  • Recognition of the significance of scenic quality as an environmental asset and the need to measure and map it; this could be at a macro (e.g. state, region) or micro (e.g. local council) levels
  • Recognition of scenic quality as a tourism attraction in its own right and the need to assess this quantitatively as a basis for landscape enhancement and management
  • Identification of scenic quality as a significant environmental resource requiring assessment in respect of proposed developments or changes of use, including assessment of the likely change to landscape quality from these developments or changes in use


Scenic Solutions is not a landscape architecture practice; it is not design-based. Nor is it a landscape gardening practice! Rather it uses social surveys (Internet-based), statistical methods and GIS systems to measure human perceptions of landscape quality, the visual impact of developments, and to map scenic quality in an objective way.


The challenge is the scenic quality is a subjective quality. "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" is the common cliché implying that it is therefore impossible to measure and map in an objective way.

The projects completed by Scenic Solutions shows that this is false as scenic quality can be measured and mapped in a manner which is not only objective but also provides the means for predicting scenic quality. Furthermore the visual impact of developments can also be assessed objectively.

There are few practitioners in Australia able to measure and map scenic quality in an objective, rigorous and replicable manner. Practitioners of some landscape design consultancies have been involved in landscape quality assessment but this has been on the basis of their expertise in design rather than on the basis of expertise in measuring human aesthetic preferences.

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Flinders Ranges map
Landscape quality map of the Flinders Ranges

Wattle Point wind farm
Wattle Point wind farm, Yorke Peninsula

SA Gulfs landscape quality map
Landscape quality map of South Australian Gulfs

Whalers Way cliffs


River Murray cliffs

Trees and vines


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