Caroline Stanton is currently undertaking PhD research in Landscape Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh, on how people perceive scale in the landscape. This follows 20 years in practice as a Chartered Landscape Architect – working for both the private and public sectors, including 12 years for the Scottish Government agency, Scottish Natural Heritage
Caroline’s PhD research examines how people perceive scale in the landscape, with particular reference to wind turbines. This builds upon long-established knowledge that scale influences our everyday experience of our surroundings and sense of well-being – from feeling ‘on top of the world’ upon a mountain ridge, to feeling shielded by the intimacy of a small courtyard. However, despite the importance of this perception, very little is actually known about how we make complex judgements of scale and thus, if a new structure of a certain size is proposed, how this will affect our experience of a landscape. Will it seem diminutive or dominating?
Caroline’s early research identified 44 different factors that affected people’s perception of scale effect in the landscape. Having narrowed these down, she is now using Sawtooth Software ACBC to identify the different constructs people make when judging scale effect and which attributes are most influential.
The key outputs of this research will be:
- To provide a better understanding of how people perceive scale in the landscape and, specifically, how they perceive the scale effect of wind turbines
- To develop a method for assessing the scale effect of large structures (incorporating aspects of Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, experiential landscape assessment, and public attitude study)
- To establish different categories of scale effect and define the thresholds that exist between these
- To establish design principles to minimise adverse scale effects of windfarms in different landscapes