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Visual characteristics of urban environments influence human perception and behavior, including choices for living, recreation and modes of transportation. Although geospatial visualizations hold great potential to better inform urban planning and design, computational methods are lacking to realistically measure and model urban and parkland viewscapes at sufficiently fine-scale resolution. In this study, we develop and evaluate an integrative approach to measuring and modeling fine-scale viewscape characteristics of a mixed-use urban environment, a city park. Our viewscape approach improves the integration of geospatial and perception elicitation techniques by combining high-resolution lidar-based digital surface models, visual obstruction, and photorealistic immersive virtual environments (IVEs). We assessed the realism of our viewscape models by comparing metrics of viewscape composition and configuration to human subject evaluations of IVEs across multiple landscape settings. We found strongly significant correlations between viewscape metrics and participants’ perceptions of viewscape openness and naturalness, and moderately strong correlations with landscape complexity. These results suggest that lidar-enhanced viewscape models can adequately represent visual characteristics of fine-scale urban environments. Findings also indicate the existence of relationships between human perception and landscape pattern. Our approach allows urban planners and designers to model and virtually evaluate high-resolution viewscapes of urban parks and natural landscapes withmore »
Increasing population and rural to urban migration are accelerating urbanization globally, permanently transforming natural systems over large extents. Modelling landscape change over large regions, however, presents particular challenges due to local-scale variations in social and environmental factors that drive land change. We simulated urban development across the South Atlantic States (SAS), a region experiencing rapid population growth and urbanization, using FUTURES—an open source land change model that uses demand for development, local development suitability factors, and a stochastic patch growing algorithm for projecting alternative futures of urban form and landscape change. New advances to the FUTURES modelling framework allow for high resolution projections over large spatial extents by leveraging parallel computing. We simulated the adoption of different urban growth strategies that encourage settlement densification in the SAS as alternatives to the region’s increasing sprawl. Evaluation of projected patterns indicate a 15% increase in urban lands by 2050 given a status quo development scenario compared to a 14.8% increase for the Infill strategy. Status quo development resulted in a 3.72% loss of total forests, 2.97% loss of highly suitable agricultural land, and 3.69% loss of ecologically significant lands. An alternative Infill scenario resulted in similar losses of total forest (3.62%) andmore »
Abstract. While there are numerical landscape evolution modelsthat simulate how steady-state flows of water and sedimentreshape topography over long periods of time,r.sim.terrain is the first tosimulate short-term topographic changefor both steady-state and dynamic flow regimesacross a range of spatial scales.This free and open-sourceGeographic Information Systems (GIS)-based topographic evolution modeluses empirical models for soil erosionand a physics-based modelfor shallow overland water flow and soil erosionto compute short-term topographic change.This model uses either a steady-stateor unsteady representation of overland flowto simulate how overland sediment mass flows reshape topographyfor a range of hydrologic soil erosion regimesbased on topographic, land cover, soil, and rainfall parameters.As demonstrated by a case studyfor the Patterson Branch subwatershedon the Fort Bragg military installation in North Carolina,r.sim.terrain simulates the development offine-scale morphological features includingephemeral gullies, rills, and hillslopes.Applications include land management, erosion control,landscape planning, and landscape restoration.