Preferences for unfamiliar urban environments were studied as a function of urban categories, viewing time, and four predictor variables: complexity, coherence, identifiability, and mystery. A nonmetric factor analysis of the preference ratings for the longest viewing-time condition yielded five dimensions: Contemporary Life, Alley/Factory, Urban Nature, Unusual Architecture, and Older Buildings. The five categories differed significantly in preference, with Urban Nature by far the most preferred and Alley/Factory distinctly disliked. The combination of low coherence and high complexity characterizes the least liked Alley/Factory category, while the role of mystery in the urban setting is highlighted by the most preferred Urban Nature category. The results point to various ways in which the urban environment could be more responsive to people's preferences.
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This research was supported in part by a grant from the Grand Valley State Colleges Research Development Fund to Thomas Herzog and in part by the Urban Forestry Unit of the U.S. Forest Service's North Central Experimental Station in a cooperative research agreement with R. Kaplan and S. Kaplan.
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Herzog, T.R., Kaplan, S. & Kaplan, R. The prediction of preference for unfamiliar urban places. Popul Environ 5, 43–59 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01359051