The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design: from EIA to EID
Chapter: Chapter 2 Landscape plans for public goods

Visual landscape plans: SCENERY

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Visual landscape  plans

Different types of plan can be prepared for the aesthetic public goods. They include scenic plans, spatial plans, image maps and skyline plans. Scenic plans Scenic resources need planning. Plans should define areas of high scenic value, to be conserved, and areas of low scenic value, to be improved. We speak naturally of "our town", "our country" and "our world", believing that each individual has rights and duties which traverse ownership boundaries. We state a wish to leave the world as beautiful as we found it. This way of thinking leads to the belief that scenery is a public resource, largely the gift of nature, partly the work of our ancestors, certainly a thing of value, like water or genetic resources. If a stream runs through a chemical works, this does not confer a right to stop off the water or load it with pollutants. Nor do land owners have rights to destroy the environment's visual character. Beautiful scenery is a public good and, as Goodey observes, 'most people know what they like when it comes to viewing the landscape, and frequently compose views' (Goodey, 1995). Photographs of towns, coasts, meadows and mountains attract us to foreign travel [Fig 2.22]. Tourism is said to be the world's largest industry. But the scenic resource on which it depends is poorly managed, almost everywhere. Like natural forests, scenery is treated as an exploitable part of nature's bounty. Even when it is managed, the emphasis is on protection rather than creation. Scenic management requires: - maps of scenic quality, both urban and rural - policies for the conservation of high scenic quality - policies for improvement of low scenic quality