Dimensions in post-industrial land transformation on planning and design: a Portuguese case study concerning public perception

Loures, L., Burley, J. B., Panagopoulos, T., Zhou, J.  (2020).


Planners and designers are often interested in the criteria, values, and principles employed to create an intervention. In our study, we were interested in respondents’ guiding beliefs and principles associated with post-industrial land reclamation. Experts have proposed heuristically, dimensions and sets of guiding planning and design beliefs associated with post-industrial reclamation. We were interested in determining whether these expertly derived dimensions matched the thinking of the population at large. To conduct our study, we started with examining six noted, post-industrial projects to derive a set (list) of design criteria from professionals who worked upon these projects. We then engaged European planning and design professionals and citizens from southern Portugal to examine the mathematical/statistical ordination of these principles. The study revealed that the principles as expressed by the public are structured and organized differently compared to what experts have proposed. The public’s perceptions, expectations, and values are dispersed across numerous independent dimensions (seven to twelve or even larger) and are much more complex than the simplistic interpretations presented in the literature by experts. Our study suggests that public expectations concerning post-industrial reclamation are broadly multi-dimensional and arrayed with many variables; it is not simple and not easy to intellectually grasp. The results reflect the complicated set of citizen expectations associated with reclamation projects. To satisfy this set of expectations may not be an easy task. In the successful planning, design, and construction of post-industrial sites, these values/principles/beliefs can form the beginning of a thoughtful program of criteria to begin the planning/design process.

Keywords: environmental design; landscape architecture; environmental psychology; urban design; multivariate analysis; social science; urban ecology; urban anthropology.

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