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Mapping landscape attractiveness – A GIS-based landscape appreciation model for the Dutch countryside

Janneke Roos-Klein Lankhorst, Sjerp de Vries, Arjen Buijs


Offering people scenic beauty is one of the most frequently mentioned landscape services. In the Netherlands it also has become an explicit policy goal: “we want a beautiful country to live and work in”. However, instruments to help policy makers and spatial planners to implement this relatively new goal are largely lacking. Where do people like the landscape in their living environment and where do they not? And which physical characteristics influence this appreciation and to what extent? To provide such information in a cost-efficient way, a model was developed to map, monitor, and simulate precisely this: the GIS-based Landscape Appreciation Model (GLAM).

The model predicts the attractiveness of the landscape based solely on nationally available GIS-data on its physical aspects for each 250 x 250 metre cell. The model was calibrated using attractiveness ratings from a national survey among residents. The final model was evaluated using data from another Dutch survey of landscape appreciation among residents living in the vicinity of 52 areas that landscape experts considered being of high quality. In this article, we describe the theoretical background to GLAM, the attributes in the current version of the model, the final steps in calibrating the model, as well as its validation. We conclude with a discussion on the usefulness of GLAM for spatial policy.


GLAM model; landscape indicators; landscape attractiveness; GIS; landscape planning; landscape policy; scenic beauty; naturalness; relief; historical distinctiveness; skyline disturbance; urbanity; landscape preference

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