Visual Openness in Urban Environments: Measuring Visual Openness and Visibility to Natural Landscapes in a Changing Urban Landscape in Gold Coast, Australia

By Ata Tara.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: August 4, 2015 $US5.00

The visual characteristics of urban environments have been changing dramatically with the growth of cities around the world. Protection and enhancement of landscape character in urban environments have been one of the challenges for policy makers in addressing sustainable urban growth. Visual openness and enclosure in urban environments are important attributes in perception of visual space which affect the human interaction with physical space and which can be often modified by new developments. Measuring visual openness in urban areas results in more accurate, reliable, and systematic approach to manage and control visual qualities in growing cities. Recent advances in techniques in geographic information systems (GIS) and survey systems make it feasible to measure and quantify this attribute with a high degree of realism and precision. Previous studies in this field do not take full advantage of these improvements. This paper proposes a method to measure the visual openness and enclosure in a changing urban landscape in Australia, on the Gold Coast, by using the improved functionality in GIS. Using this method, visual openness is calculated and described for all publicly accessible areas in the selected study area. A final map is produced which shows the areas with highest visual openness and visibility to natural landscape resources. The output of this research can be used by planners and decision-makers in managing and controlling views in complex urban landscapes. Also, depending on the availability of GIS data, this method can be applied to any region including non-urban landscapes to help planners and policy-makers manage views and visual qualities.

Keywords: Visual Openness, Visibility, LiDAR, Digital Surface Model (DSM)

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 6, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.25-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: August 4, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.484MB)).

Ata Tara

Ph.D Student, Faculty of Creative Industries, School of Design, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia