(January 2010) Access to landscapes
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?
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.