Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Third Advisor

Dr. Jordan Yin

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

There is a growing body of evidence that a person's individual well-being is benefited by interaction with nature. This study examines the ideal residential setting, and uses different residential scenes to measure impacts on well-being. Participants viewed a slideshow of 55 black and white photographs, and recorded their feelings in response to the residential landscape scenes. The well-being metric was derived from Landscape Psychology, and the related sustainability qualifications for the individual lots were based on Sustainable Landscape Design techniques.

Review of the literature showed a confounding of openspace with privacy in regard to motivations for migration to suburban areas, and led to creative solutions for increasing density in future developments while still promoting quality of life. Recommendations for improved landscape design pertain to both new developments and remodeling of existing residential landscapes to balance interactions with community and interactions with nature. Highlights of the conclusions include: replacement of the front yard with perennial gardens, distancing of large plants from structure foundations, the creation of a back yard visual screen, and planting styles to enhance the visual depth of field.

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