'Seeing is not everything': Exploring the landscape experiences of different publics

Alister Scott*, Claudia Carter, Katrina Brown, Vicki White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


This paper develops a multi-sensory and multiple-perspective framework for assessing public perception of landscapes. Proceeding from a viewpoint that landscape research and policy have been pre-occupied with expert-led and visual approaches, our method elevates the experiences and range of responses of different publics to centre stage. Set within phenomenological and experiential epistemologies, our piloted technique captured the real time responses of walkers, mountain bikers, planners, councillors and land managers on pre-planned trips in Aberdeenshire. Subsequent analysis of audio recordings and field notes elicited detailed data revealing a complex appreciation of landscape set within dynamic and multiple socio-economic identities and sensory experiences of individuals. The paper concludes with a plea for policy-makers and researchers to recognise the importance of different publics who may experience and respond to landscape in different ways and the significance of incorporating both visual and non-visual components into emergent landscape assessment and policy approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-424
Number of pages28
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


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