Factors influencing visual landscape quality perceived by the public. Results from a national survey

Flurina Wartmann* (Corresponding Author), Jacqueline Frick, Felix Kienast, Marcel Hunziker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


In the context of significant landscape changes, understanding how residents perceive landscape quality is crucial for landscape policy-making and planning. However, while significant advancements have been made in measuring physical landscape change, social indicators assessing visual landscape quality perceived by the public are still underdeveloped. In this study, we use an indicator-based assessment of visual landscape quality that was collected through a standardized questionnaire at national scale in Switzerland. The survey was sent out to a representative sample of over 8000 households, with 2814 complete questionnaires returned. We investigated the influence of different factors on how residents assess visual landscape quality. Our results show that across
Switzerland, residents rated visual landscape quality of their municipality positively, with some differences between geographic regions. Using a multilevel model, we included explanatory variables both at the individual level and variables on landscape characteristics at the municipality level. How long residents have lived in a region and how well they can see the landscape in an unobstructed way (openness of view) are significant predictors of perceived landscape quality, while gender and educational attainment are not. At the municipality level, the type of municipality and the biogeographic region are significant predictors to explain variance between municipalities. Results from this indicator-based assessment of visual landscape quality among the general
public highlight the importance of including public opinion, with results that can potentially be used as a baseline from which to assess future landscape change and effects of landscape policy-decisions
Original languageEnglish
Article number104024
Number of pages10
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date8 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge funding from the Federal Office of the Environment (FOEN) through the Swiss Landscape Monitoring Programme (LABES). Dr. Chris Stride provided statistical consultancy through figure it out on earlier versions of our multilevel model and made helpful suggestions on model improvements. Any mistakes are our own. We gratefully acknowledge the constructive feedback from three anonymous reviewers, which helped to improve our manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s)

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Landscape monitoring
  • landscape aesthetics
  • Socio-cultural landscape indicators
  • Cultural ecosystem services
  • Public landscape perception survey
  • Public landscape perception


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors influencing visual landscape quality perceived by the public. Results from a national survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this