What is it that we like about landscapes and why? (2021)

Dr Jane Russell-O’Connor, Waterford Institute of Technology, Republic of Ireland

Image © Jane Russell-Connor

Project summary

This project aims to investigate why people are drawn to certain types of landscapes and how being immersed within them promotes a sense of connection with the environment and other landscape users. It will focus on the experiences of visitors and inhabitants in the coastal town of Tramore and the mountainous region of the Comeragh Mountains, both in County Waterford in the Republic of Ireland.

With the advent of the recent COVID 19 pandemic, people have been restricted to their local areas, which has led to increased outdoor activity in both the Comeraghs and with the sea in Tramore. The sense of ownership of these areas has fostered an ‘affectionate knowing’ (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2017) and interest in the value of these landscapes. Spending time in these landscapes has been crucial for maintaining health, well-being and social interaction during a time when other activities and social interactions have been curtailed. Therefore this research aims to address why it is that people feel drawn to these two landscape types and how do they make them feel? What elements of these landscapes do people find appealing and of value?

Image © Emily Shakespeare