AuthorHetherington, John Drew.
Committee ChairDaniel, Terry C.
MetadataShow full item record
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 number of different methods for assessing the aesthetic quality of environments have been developed over the past 30 years. From methods that rely upon "experts" to judge the scenic quality of a landscape to methods that rely upon "naive" observers, all methods share the same basic interest: To explain or predict aesthetic quality between different environments. Although a number of attempts at integrating different methodologies have been recently reported, these have failed to produce an integrative theory of environmental aesthetics due to experimental and theoretical problems inherent in each design. The present study was designed to derive fundamental aesthetic principles for landscapes through the integration of the formal aesthetic, psychological, and psychophysical methods. This study addressed three basic questions: (1) What traits or constructs are being measured by environmental assessment methods currently used?, (2) Are these constructs independent of the methods used to assess them?, and (3) Can an integrative theory of environmental aesthetics be developed empirically? To answer these questions, the study focused on the construct validity of the measures within each method across four different landscapes, ranging from Alaska to the Southwest. Three categories of ratings were collected for each landscape, corresponding to the published procedures of each method. Initial factor analyses were run within each method across the four landscapes to determine what general environmental characteristics were measured by each method. A second-order factor analysis was used to derive basic aesthetic characteristics which transcend both method of measurement and landscape type. Multiple regression analyses were then used to predict the common aesthetic characteristics from the physical data of the landscapes. The experiment was designed to facilitate a new understanding of (1) whether universal principles of aesthetic quality exist across different environments and methods of assessment and (2) if physical measures of the environment can be used to predict those universal characteristics.