Journal Article Evaluations of Landscape Locations along Trails Based on Walking Experiences and Distances Traveled in the Akasawa Forest Therapy Base, Central Japan

Zhang, Tong  ,  Deng, Songqiu  ,  Ma, Qianqian  ,  Sasaki, Kunihiro

6 ( 8 )  , pp.2853 - 2878 , 2015-08 , MDPI AG
Forest planners are interested not only in forest spaces that visitors prefer but also in the preferred spatial arrangements of landscape features. In this study, we aimed to clarify walkers' evaluations of four landscape locations composed of various scenic features in various spatial arrangements along forest walking routes. We also analyzed the trends, differences, and common features associated with different walking distances and experiences. The results are summarized as follows: (1) The walkers' evaluations changed depending on the elements of the scene they observed and the spatial arrangements of those elements. The visitors preferred silent environments in forest spaces to the sounds of a stream. Meanwhile, they appreciated a good view in an open area. (2) The length of a walk prior to visiting a location on a route affected walkers' evaluations of that location. For example, a special landscape feature was more positively rated by the respondents who visited the location late in their walks than those in the early and middle walking stages. However, the early-passage walkers were more pleased by touching natural objects such as rocks and large trees than those later in their walks. (3) Analysis revealed that the ratings of certain parameters differed according to the route taken to a location, whereas other ratings remain unchanged. Consequently, we must consider the effects of spatial properties of scenic factors on people's perceptions in forest planning. (4) Walkers provided similar ratings on three parameters within forest landscapes-"Open feeling", "Regular landscape" and "Natural" feel-even in the middle and near the end of their walks. Conversely, locations with water elements led to variations in parameter ratings that were maintained until the end of a person's walk. Based on these results, we suggest that positive walking experiences can be maintained by considering the open feeling, regularity, and natural landscape in all three passage stages in planning walking routes.

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