The UK Landscape Evaluation Movement, 1965-1985

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Abstract / Description of output

Tracing developments in British town and country planning during the 1960s and 1970s, this article describes the sudden upsurge of landscape evaluation method-development among landscape architects and planners, and the disputes that made such efforts come to an end in the late 1970s. In this burst of activity, here referred to as the UK landscape evaluation movement, we can observe competing definitions of visual amenity and landscape quality take form. It is described how practitioners invented or adopted numerical measurement and preference methods as means to gain a supposedly unbiased understanding of how different landscape areas are valued by communities. Struggling to make themselves heard in a planning sector that was dominated by more powerful stakeholders and quantitative approaches (for example, cost-benefit analysis), in the landscape evaluation movement we can also witness how pioneering practitioners adopt advanced statistical techniques and computer mapping to communicate qualitative values of landscape more effectively to each other, communities and decision-makers. These were deliberate attempts by the practitioners to occupy a more active and influential role in landscape and country planning during the period. As this article shows, their success in this regard was limited due to the lack of general agreement with respect to the reliability, validity and generalisability of both assessment methods and produced findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-155
Number of pages19
JournalRural History
Issue number2
Early online date30 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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