Comparing outdoor recreation preferences in peri-urban landscapes using different data gathering methods

Franzika Komossa*, Flurina M. Wartmann, Felix Kienast, Peter H. Verburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


The growing demand for a variety of outdoor recreation pursuits in peri-urban areas evokes the need for effective landscape management strategies based on reliable information about recreationists, their preferences and use of the landscape. Although a variety of methods are available for gathering this information, there is a lack of understanding if and how results from these methods are comparable. In this study we apply both direct engagement methods in the form of interviews (incl. participatory mapping, free-listing and quantitative photo ranking) and indirect engagement methods by analysing social media content (location, tags and photo content). The goal was to gather and compare data on outdoor recreation preferences in two study areas, one in the Netherlands and one in Switzerland. We found similar landscape preferences among study areas through both types of engagement methods. Our results indicate that these methods in general consistently identify similar landscape preferences. However, we also found differences regarding the type of information they manage to capture. For instance, for gathering landscape preferences, we found that free-listing and social media user tags, captured attributes related to the social and cultural appreciation of landscapes, including sensory qualities of a landscape and sense of place. The results highlight the potential of complementary approaches for capturing heterogeneous information needed for outdoor recreation research and, more generally, for landscape monitoring and management. Combining multiple methods enables relatively robust findings to be identified, but also addresses different aspects of landscape appreciation from different user groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103796
Number of pages10
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date2 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Support for the research reported in this paper was provided by the European Research Councilunder the European Union’s Seventh Framework ERC Grant Agreement 311819 GLOLAND (Integrating human agency in global-scale land change models,, the European Commission Grant Agreement 633838, through the project PROVIDE (Providing smart delivery of Public Goods by EU agriculture and forestry, and the BiodivERsA project ENVISION funded through the Dutch National Science Foundation.




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