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Landscape and the location decision


Quantifying the value of landscape attributes for local residents



Recent international studies conclude that location-specific quality of life factors continue to gain importance in residential location decisions. The quality and quantity of local landscape resources is one factor that is relevant to quality of life. However, with rapid urban expansion, open space, near-natural landscapes and agricultural land are becoming scarce. This development led to a re-orientation of different sectoral policies related to land management: These policies increasingly aim at preserving (e.g. multifunctional agriculture) and utilizing (e.g. parks, regional management) landscape services. Sustainable land use policies accounting for ecological, spatial and cultural factors as well as consumer preferences depend on an improved awareness and understanding of landscape values. Thereby, the public good landscape receives increased attention in the political process and in regional management and external costs/benefits of land use changes can be estimated more accurately. Several economic valuation methods allow to quantify landscape values. In the context of estimating the value of landscape attributes and other quality of life factors for local residents, the hedonic pricing method is most suitable.

Research questions

The main objective of this research project is to analyze the significance of landscape characteristics and landscape quality for the choice of residential location using a comprehensive hedonic property value model.

The following research questions will be addressed:

  • What is the impact of different landscape variables and potential land use changes on apartment rental prices?
  • What are the constraints and caveats in the validity of the results of the analysis? How do the results compare to earlier studies?
  • How can the results be transformed to praxis and which recommendations for political implementation and further research can be derived?

The econometric estimation of landscape values can contribute to informed decision making of the involved agents and to an increased awareness of the locational factor landscape.


  • Waltert, F., Segura Moran, L., Schläpfer, F., Pütz, M., Kienast, F. 2014: Bewertung von Landschaftsattributen auf dem Schweizer Mietwohnungsmarkt. Hauptuntersuchung im Rahmen des Projekts „Landschaftsqualität als Standortfaktor erkennen und verbessern“. Birmensdorf, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL, Bundesamt für Umwelt BAFU. 125 S.