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17.11.2018 | Ausgabe 2/2019

Urban Ecosystems 2/2019

I can hear the birds: using audio recordings to assess perceptions of amenity in urban riparian environments

Zeitschrift:
Urban Ecosystems > Ausgabe 2/2019
Autoren:
Helen Corney, Melissa Neave

Abstract

The restorative qualities of nature (amenity values) have been explored for their benefits to human wellbeing. Yet methodology to assess restorative qualities is generally limited to visual stimuli in laboratory situations. Little is known about the influence of other sensory elements or specific environmental conditions on perceptions of amenity and finding data collection methods that encapsulate these complexities is challenging. This study used a novel methodological approach utilising in-situ voice recordings to explore the relationship between human perceptions of amenity and biodiversity levels of urban river corridors in Melbourne, Australia. The research methodology collected in-situ responses to natural stimuli. This enabled the influence of biodiversity levels on public perceptions of the amenity value of urban river corridors to be explored. To investigate this, participants were taken to two sites along a river, one with high biodiversity and one with low biodiversity. Participants walked alone for 30 min along the river corridor recording their experiences on portable voice recorders as they travelled. Utilising voice recordings enabled the collection of rich in-situ experiences of amenity and enhanced self-reporting written responses. This method also gave voice to the influence of other sensory elements along with the visual and allowed the researchers to better appreciate the immersed experiences of the participants. This method provides a means of progressing amenity and perception studies from laboratory settings to real experiences of amenity. It illuminates the links between human wellbeing benefits and contact with biodiversity and can facilitate greater synergy between land management and public perceptions.

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