(January 2010) Access to landscapes

Access to landscapes image

Access to landscapes 


In my PhD thesis I will study accessibility as a prerequisite for use and protection of urban recreational 

landscapes.  The hypothesis is that the quality of an area will affect the use of an area for recreational 

purposes, and that accessibility is of significant importance in that regard.  


The main research questions for my thesis concern the connection between accessibility and 

management of urban recreational landscapes: 


To what extent does accessibility for the users strengthen the implementing of local and 

national goals in urban recreational landscapes? 


- Does accessibility and use of recreational landscapes enhance the probability for maintaining 

the areas for recreational purposes? 

 Theoretical framework for defining accessibility 


According to Højring and Caspersen (1999) an accessible area is where the observer perceives it 

physically possible to get to; where obstacles do not hinder passage, and at the same time where one 

has right-of-way through laws and regulations. This definition covers the different aspects of the term; 

the physical accessibility, the legal accessibility and the cultural or perceived accessibility. These 

aspects partly coincide, because our perceived accessibility to an area depends on the physical 

attributes of the area. Physical accessibility is determined by factors such as topography (terrain 

roughness), land cover and vegetation density, and perceived accessibility can further be enhanced 

by the presence of inviting elements, such as path-signs or lighted paths. On the other hand, 

perceiced right-of-way is not necessarily the same as legal right-of-way. 


Through a literature review of the use of the term accessibility in landscape assessments, I will discuss 

the content of the term more profoundly. The aim of the literature review will be to find out which 

attributes of an area defines our conception of the areas suitability for recreational activities. My paper 

for this PhD workshop will be a literature review assessing the term accessibility in landscape assessments. 


Research methodology for measuring accessibility 


Geographical Information Systems (GIS) will be used to visualize and measure accessibility to urban 

recreational landscapes in two different municipalities, Moss in Norway and Kungsbacka i Sweden. 

Prior to a GIS analysis, the relevant indicators of accessibility need to be operationalised. Not all 

aspects concerning accessibility can be measured through a GIS analysis, and will require other 

methods, like field work or surveys.  




HØJRING, K and CASPERSEN, O. H. (1999) Landbrug og landskabsæstetik - udviklingen i 

landbruget 1950-1995 og dens konsekvenser for landskabets oplevelsesmæssige indhold

Copenhagen, Forskningscentret Skov & Landskab: 252.