UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Does Adding Local Tree Elements into Dwellings Enhance Individuals’ Homesickness? Scenario-Visualisation for Developing Sustainable Rural Landscapes Huang, Shuping; Konijnendijk van den Bosch, Cecil; Fu, Weicong; Qi, Jinda; Chen, Ziru; Zhu, Zhipeng; Dong, Jianwen


Rural residential settings are important elements of livable and sustainable rural areas across the world. Enhancing people’s attachment to these landscapes through fostering feelings of homesickness could help in the pursuit of better rural residential settings. We studied homesickness, an emotion found to be associated with higher place attachment and quality of life, related to rural landscapes in southeast China, looking specifically at the presence and configuration of rural dwellings and trees. We used Photoshop to manipulate different configurations of typical rural dwellings and trees, and three series with twelve types of landscape scenes were generated. We looked at the following six emotional factors linked to homesickness: naturalness; regional culture; identity; psychology; experience; and landscape aesthetics. The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and semantic differential (SD) methods were used to evaluate the level in which the landscape evoked feelings of homesickness amongst study participants, i.e., a group of university students from different disciplines. Results show that the homesickness emotional response level was higher in most of the simulated landscapes, as compared to the original landscape, and that response levels differed significantly between the three types of visualized landscape configurations. The emotional response level showed differences for manipulated landscape scenes with twelve different trees added to dwellings. Through cluster analysis of the results, we divided trees into three grades of emotional response for each dwelling type. Adding trees thus was found to change the emotional response to the landscape, and different tree configurations with different types of dwellings results in different responses. The study shows that careful design of the rural landscape can help build stronger emotional relations of humans with their local environment, which is a key ingredient for sustainable countryside living.

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