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Do Looks Matter? A Case Study on Extensive Green Roofs Using Discrete Choice Experiments

Jan Vanstockem (), Liesbet Vranken (), Brent Bleys, Ben Somers () and Martin Hermy ()
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Jan Vanstockem: Division of Forest, Nature and Landscape, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven—University of Leuven, BE-3001 Leuven, Belgium
Ben Somers: Division of Forest, Nature and Landscape, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven—University of Leuven, BE-3001 Leuven, Belgium
Martin Hermy: Division of Forest, Nature and Landscape, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven—University of Leuven, BE-3001 Leuven, Belgium

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 2, 1-15

Abstract: Extensive green roofs are a promising type of urban green that can play an important role in climate proofing and ultimately in the sustainability of our cities. Despite their increasingly widespread application and the growing scientific interest in extensive green roofs, their aesthetics have received limited scientific attention. Furthermore, several functional issues occur, as weedy species can colonize the roof, and extreme roof conditions can lead to gaps in the vegetation. Apart from altering the function of a green roof, we also expect these issues to influence the perception of extensive green roofs, possibly affecting their acceptance and application. We therefore assessed the preferences of a self-selected convenience sample of 155 Flemish respondents for visual aspects using a discrete choice experiment. This approach, combined with current knowledge on the psychological aspects of green roof visuals, allowed us to quantify extensive green roof preferences. Our results indicate that vegetation gaps and weedy species, together with a diverse vegetation have a considerable impact on green roof perception. Gaps were the single most important attribute, indicated by a relative importance of ca. 53%, with cost coming in at a close second at ca. 46%. Overall, this study explores the applicability of a stated preference technique to assess an often overlooked aspect of extensive green roofs. It thereby provides a foundation for further research aimed at generating practical recommendations for green roof construction and maintenance.

Keywords: discrete choice experiment; extensive green roof; aesthetic benefits; visual aspects; urban ecology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (8) Track citations by RSS feed

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