THE EXPERIENCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY IN BUILT AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS
AuthorLevi, Daniel Jay
Ecological surveys -- Arizona -- Tucson -- Public opinion.
Desert ecology -- Arizona -- Tucson -- Public opinion.
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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.
AbstractThis research project develops a theoretical approach to the study of the experience of environmental quality. The approach is derived from the transactional perspective of perception and uses the concepts of mergence and barriers to explain how people's experience of a place relates to their judgment of environmental quality. It assumes that people value environments which facilitate positive emotional experiences and that the judgment of environmental quality is related to the potentialities of the environment to provide a context for valued experiences. The implications of this theory are discussed with regard to the differences between the experience of built versus natural environments, an experiential versus value system approach to environmental quality, and the value of high quality natural environments. The first study used a structured interview to examine people's experience and evaluation of high and low quality built and natural environments in the Tucson area. The second study examined the use of photographic surrogates for the study of environmental quality by comparing objective photographs with subjective photographs taken by people visiting environments. The results support the view that the human valuing process is an affective, synthesizing, and concretizing process. The experiential differences between built and natural environments were examined with regard to the degree of interrelatedness of the physical, social, and functional aspects of the environment. The experiential and value system approaches to studying environmental quality were shown to be complementary, and some potential problems with the value system approach were examined. The value of high quality natural environments was shown to relate to the symbolic, spiritual and experiential meaning which people attribute to them. Although there were differences between the two methods of photographically simulating environments, both methods were shown to be useful for providing surrogates for the study of environmental quality. Overall, this research demonstrated the value of a holistic experiential framework for the study of environmental quality which helps to unite scientific research with people's experience of the environment.
Degree ProgramGraduate College