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Perception and Value of Nature in Urban Landscapes: a Comparative Analysis of Cities in Germany, Chile and Spain

Author(s): C. Priego | J.-H. Breuste | J. Rojas

Journal: Landscape Online
ISSN 1865-1542

Volume: 7;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: utilization of urban green | social groups and acceptance of urban nature | inter-cultural comparison

Cities are not socially homogenous, but divided into socially and structurally differentiated sub-units. Likewise, the individuals of a community, city or neighbourhood present specific behavioural patterns and uses with respect to their public green areas. This premise has led us to explore the question of how the perceptions, uses, and behaviours of people from different countries, cultures, and socioeconomic levels in Chile, Germany and Spain differ or coincide as far as urban nature and landscapes are concerned. Due to the comparative nature of the project, research areas with similar characteristics were chosen, thus allowing a comparative analysis of upper and lower middle-class neighbourhoods. People from all six study areas were surveyed using the same questionnaires. The results revealed that people of different social and cultural backgrounds use and perceive urban landscape in different ways. We found that nature of different kind plays an important role in all the urban societies and particularly in the neighbourhoods studied, regardless of social status or nationality. However, the higher the social status, the greater the urban green area dedicated to private uses. The preference for specific types of nature depends not only on social status, but cultural elements, accessibility and tradition as well. Moreover, nature-related outdoor activities are defined by this status, in turn reflecting the individual’s cultural status within society.
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