Understanding of landscape values is an essential means to support sustainable land use and spatial planning by citizen participation
Landscapes are manifestations of biophysical, cultural, and economic processes, facing constant change. These changes represent the many ways in which people interact with their environments. Landscapes have both material and immaterial dimensions: they provide us with a range of goods and services, but also form an important part of our identity, contributing to our natural and cultural heritage. Urban residents, tourists, rural country dwellers, farmers and fishermen all have different wants and needs from the landscape, leading to a diverse range of landscape values. This diversity of demands, perceptions, and uses of landscapes raise challenging questions about how to best design, plan, and manage resilient landscapes that are resistant to shocks and adaptive to changes in society and environment.
To cater for the diverse nature of people-environment interactions, we develop and employ new integrative methods to study landscape values, including in-depth case-study research, landscape modeling, participatory mapping, and meta-studies.
Our approach characterizes itself by being:
- Dynamic: We treat landscapes as dynamic systems, studying how landscape values both affect and are affected by land use change
- Spatially explicit: We study values in a spatially explicit manner and at different scales, which advances our understanding of interactions between biophysical and social landscape attributes and helps to identify priority areas containing specific landscape characteristics and functions
- Policy relevant: We develop instruments that helps landscape practitioners to take stock of the wide range of landscape values, which is essential to garner public support for planned changes in the landscape
Selected key publications:
- van Zanten, B.T., van Berkel, D.B., Meetemeyer, R.K., Smith, J.W., Tieskens, K.F., Verburg, P.H., Meentemeyer, R., Smith, J.W., Tieskens, K.F., Verburg, P.H. (2016). Continental scale quantification of landscape values using social media data. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 113: 1–7.
- van Zanten BT, Verburg PH, Koetse MJ, van Beukering PJH. 2014. Preferences for European agrarian landscapes: A meta-analysis of case studies. Landscape and Urban Planning, 132, 89–101.
- Scholte, S.S.K., Todorova, M., van Teeffelen, A.J.A. Verburg, P.H. (2015) Public support for wetland restoration: What is the link with ecosystem service values? Wetlands, 36, 1-15.
- van Zanten BT, Zasada I, Koetse MJ, Ungaro F, Häfner K, Verburg PH. 2016. A comparative approach to assess the contribution of landscape features to aesthetic and recreational values in agricultural landscapes. Ecosystem Services 17:87-98.
- Scholte SSK, van Teeffelen AJA, Verburg PH. 2015. Integrating socio-cultural perspectives into ecosystem service valuation: A review of concepts and methods. Ecological Economics 114:67-78.