Landscape Resources

References on Landscape Quality Click here


The following are links to some organizations and sites that are relevant to landscape quality assessment.


World Heritage Convention

The World Heritage Convention includes sites nominated on the basis of the criterion that it contains “superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance”.

European Landscape Convention

The European Landscape Convention is the first convention to focus exclusively on landscapes. It was developed by the Council of Europe and promotes landscape protection, management and planning and European co-operation on landscape issues. The Convention defines landscape as “An area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors.” (Council of Europe 2000). The Convention was adopted in October 2000 and entered into force in March 2004. The Convention secretariat has produced various publications. The Convention adopts the innovative starting point that its aspirations apply everywhere, to the whole landscape. Protection may be particularly applied to especially beautiful or apparently natural areas within the landscape, but the Convention’s focus is on ordinary, ‘everyday’ landscape, even with landscape that may be perceived as spoiled or damaged. It regards landscape as a product of people’s perceptions, created in the eyes, minds and hearts of beholders by treating the material, ‘real’ components of our environment as raw material for memory and association, understanding and interpretation (with acknowledgement to Natural England and English Heritage). The focus of the Convention, however, is on landscape character’, not landscape quality and this reflects the strong influence that Britain had in the framing of the Convention.

United Kingdom

English Heritage

English Heritage is mainly involved in historic and archaeological heritage but has an interest in cultural landscapes and has conducted landscape investigations of areas containing sites and monuments. It is also carrying out the Historic Landscape Characterization program which also focuses on the historic landscape.

Landscape Research Group

The Landscape Research Group founded in 1967, is an international, independent and not-for-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom but with global membership. It works to advance interdisciplinary landscape research through dissemination, communication and exchange across global communities of interest. It promotes research and practices that engage landscape and environment. It sponsors public programs and conferences and publishes the Routeledge Journal Landscape Research. It also issues LR Extra, a newsletter to promote interdisciplinary thought and dialogue on landscape issues.

Macaulay Land Use Research Institute

The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute (now part of the James Hutton Institute), based in Aberdeen, Scotland, is an international center for research and consultancy on the environmental and social consequences of rural land uses. It has conducted research on landscape issues, particularly in relation to wind farms.

Natural England

Natural England is the successor of the Countryside Commission and the Countryside Agency. Its role is to “conserve and enhance the natural environment, for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people and the economic prosperity that it brings.” It has classified England into National Character Areas on the basis of landscape character and has carried out Landscape Character Assessments across England. The former Countryside Agency combined with English Nature to produce the Character of England map.

Landscape Institute

The Landscape Institute (UK) is the chartered body for over 5,000 members in the landscape profession. It is an educational charity that promotes the art and science of landscape practice.

Royal Town Planning Institute

The RTPI, founded in 1914, and is the professional institute for planners across the UK and internationally. It maintains professional standards and accredits planning courses. Planners are involved in assessing developments that affect the landscape including wind farms, highways and buildings. The Institute and its members are active in influencing policy and action across Britain.

Planning Officers Society 

The POS represents around 2,000 planners, most of them working in local councils and the public sector. Operating both nationally and regionally, POS works through policy and project work, events and education, publication and dissemination of good practice and electronic update bulletins.

Royal Geographical Society 
The RGS is a  learned society and professional body for geography. It aims to advance geography and support geographers in the UK and across the world. A unique resource it houses are 5,000 expedition reports from across the globe.

United States

Landscape Values and PPGIS Institute

The Landscape Values and the Public Participation Geographic Information System (PPGIS) Institute brings together researchers and planners with expertise and experience in mapping, interpreting, or using landscape value and special place information for land use planning and decision making. The Institute website is maintained by Professor Greg Brown at Central Washington University at Ellensburg, Washington State. and includes many of their publications.

World Resources Institute

WRI is a global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of the environment, economic opportunity and human well-being.

Scenic America

Despite its name, this site is mainly about opposing billboards, telecommunication towers, trees and utility wires. The text below is the introduction to the site:

Throughout the country, our most cherished scenic resources and hometown assets are being obscured by a blizzard of monstrous billboards, badly sited telecommunications towers, a tangle of overhead lines, and a hodgepodge of visual clutter. Open space is being lost. Our natural and cultural heritage is being buried under unconstrained development and poorly designed transportation systems. America’s beauty and community character are being obliterated by a steel curtain of visual spam. But at Scenic America, we believe we have a choice about how we want to live. Change is inevitable. Ugliness is not.

Scenic Rivers Program

Many States have Scenic Rivers Programs, designed to manage the natural and cultural features and recreational resources of the rivers. States include Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Ohio.

National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society, publishers of the famous National Geographic, is a long standing organisation involved in and sponsors of exploration, education, and providing grants for research across the world. 

American Society of Landscape Architects

ASLA is the professional association for landscape architects in the United States, representing more than 15,000 members. The Society’s mission is to advance landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship.

Visual Resource Clearinghouse

The Visual Resources Clearinghouse provides access to key documents concerning U.S. federal government visual resources management (VRM) programs and related research sponsored by U.S. federal government agencies. The site provides centralized access to:

  • Summaries of federal agency VRM programs and processes;
  • Key agency policy, guidance, and VRM program documents;
  • Federally-sponsored visual resources research.


Australian Heritage Council

The Australian Heritage Council is the principal adviser to the Australian Government on heritage matters. The Council assesses nominations for the National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List. The Council formerly maintained the Register of the National Estate but this has now been closed and responsibility for significant sites passed to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Register is maintained on a non-statutory basis as a publicly available archive and educational resource.

National Trust of Australia

The Victorian ( and South Australian (www.nationaltrustsa. Branches of the National Trust were leading advocates of landscape assessment and protection in Australia, having initiated many of the early studies.

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

The AILA is the professional association of over 3,500 landscape architects throughout Australia and works to improve the design, planning and management of the natural and built environment.

Note: The inclusion of sites and organizations in this list is provided as a service and in no way implies endorsement of their products and services. Details of additional relevant organizations are welcome.


An extensive literature exists on studies of landscape quality. This site provides access to Australian studies and to the international literature.

An Excel spreadsheet is attached with details of over 1850 references relating to landscapes and to landscape quality assessment in particular.

The spreadsheet can be accessed either by author or by year. The journal acronyms used in the spreadsheet is also included.

Showing these references as a spreadsheet enables users to interrogate it and to use Excel commands to, for example, list all the references by a single author, or search by key words.

The list includes references used in papers which may be accessed through the landscape miscellany section of this website, including for example, the reactions of early European explorers to the Australian landscape, early Classical writers about beauty (Western culture and landscape), traditional society’s attitudes towards the landscape, and the significance of water in the landscape.

To access the references spreadsheet, click here: Landscape references