Vegetation in Tucson: Factors influencing residents' perceptions and preferences.
AuthorKennedy, Christina Beal.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractA study of Tucson residents' and University of Arizona students' attitudes towards vegetation in Tucson indicates that familiarity and emotions attached to landscape or vegetation types are major factors in the development of preferences. Context, or the location of vegetation and perceived associated uses, appears to be another important factor affecting attitudes towards vegetation. Vegetation is seen as contributing to Tucson's identity or sense of place. However, students tend to prefer grass lawns and tree or shrub species from humid climates while Tucson residents prefer native, low-water use species and desert landscaping. Landscape elements considered to be important are shade and cool appearance, type or presence of trees, greenness, neatness and an organized, planned appearance. Messy, dirty, cluttered, and uncared-for appearances--as well as apparent poor health or lack of vegetation--are disliked landscape characteristics. Awareness of environmental issues associated with vegetation, such as water-use and pollen production, is more prevalent among Tucson residents interviewed than among students. However, there appears to be a disparity between expressed attitudes towards vegetation and water use and actual yard landscaping in the interview sample. Vegetation, especially trees, is important to a strong majority of respondents in this study. Yard trees and trees in parks are seen as most important. Respondents from neighborhoods with heavy vegetation cover density value street trees and trees at a city level more than do respondents from neighborhoods with sparse vegetation cover. However, this may be due to a lack of resources for planting and maintaining trees in the low-income neighborhood with sparse vegetation. Tucson's identity, and the quality of life offered in Tucson is affected by the type of vegetation planted in the city. With increasing concern about water availability, urban heat islands, and global warming, the type, amount, and location of vegetation planted in cities in arid climates will become increasingly important. Citizens' attitudes towards vegetation affects the type of vegetation planted and nurtured in Tucson. In developing public policies related to vegetation, it is important to consider people's emotional needs as well as environmental factors in order to create meaningful places.
Degree ProgramGeography and Regional Development