Why do people prefer one landscape over another? Our biology is better at explaining this than cultural or environmental theories according to Dr. Ellen Vincent. Thinking of landscapes from a biological (or evolutionary) perspective, Jay Appleton distilled all landscapes into one of three categories:
- Prospect – A Vista, typically a view from a high point.
- Refuge – Shelter from the threatening weather, animals or people.
- Hazard – Threatening weather, animals or people.
These are the categories that Dr. Vincent uses when she does her research at Clemson University to find the most therapeutic landscape images for people in pain in a hospital. An article describing how she does her research can be found in Healthcare Designs’s Art Corner in the January 2011 issue.
Ellen Vincent, PhD, is an environmental landscape specialist at Clemson University’s Department of Environmental Horticulture.