Aesthetic responses to urban greenway trail environments

Jinhyung Chon, C. Scott Shafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The ways people perceive greenway trails in urban environments are not well studied. Trail layout and aspects of maintenance and design of trails in urban areas would benefit from better knowledge of how potential users perceive these places and what might encourage or discourage their use. The purpose of this study was to examine the relative influence of aesthetic response dimensions on the likeability of greenway trail scenes in an urban environment. A web-based 'virtual tour' was used to elicit responses to scenes of urban greenway environments in downtown Houston and Austin, Texas, USA. The 211 subjects who participated in the study were selected from an undergraduate student population. Participants viewed the scenes and responded to the survey in a controlled computer laboratory. Perceptions of the greenways supported the aesthetic dimensions that Nasar has suggested for broader urban environments. Our analysis resulted in the identification of five dimensions of aesthetic response to the greenway scenes that were interpreted as: maintenance, distinctiveness, naturalness, pleasantness and arousal. These represented both cognitive and affective responses to the environment and all five dimensions were significant positive predictors of the likeability of greenway scenes. The dimension of pleasantness had the greatest influence on likeability and maintenance had the least. The implications of the findings for urban design related to greenway trails and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-104
Number of pages22
JournalLandscape Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences Department at Texas A&M University, by a Korea University Grant, and ‘Forest Science & Technology Projects’ (Project No. S10107L0201004) provided by Korea Forest Service.


  • Aesthetic response dimensions
  • Landscape design
  • Likeability
  • Urban greenway trail
  • Virtual tour
  • Visual quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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