No wilderness for immigrants: Cultural differences in images of nature and landscape preferences

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178 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the growing cultural diversity in many European countries, nature recreation is still a very ¿white¿ activity. Immigrants hardly ever visit non-urban green areas. Prior research has suggested that different perceptions of nature and landscape may be related to this limited use. Based on 618 questionnaires, this article investigates to what extent immigrants from Islamic countries and the native Dutch have different images of nature and landscape preferences. Using the concept of images of nature, cultural differences in meanings attached to nature are explored. Three images of nature are described: the wilderness image, the functional image, and the inclusive image. The wilderness image focuses on ecocentric values and the independence of nature; the functional image focuses on anthropocentric values and intensive management and the inclusive image focuses on ecocentric values and an intimate relationship between humans and nature. Native Dutch people are strong supporters of the wilderness image, while immigrants generally support the functional image. In addition, landscape preferences differ significantly between immigrants and native Dutch people. In general, immigrants show lower preferences for non-urban landscapes. Immigrants show especially low preferences for wild and unmanaged landscapes, like marshes and dunes. Multivariate analyses of variance showed that images of nature and immigrant-status are the most powerful predictors of differences in landscape preferences. Age, gender and education have only a small additional predictive power. The practical and theoretical consequences of these findings are discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-123
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • environmental concern
  • value orientations
  • united-states
  • perceptions
  • representations
  • netherlands
  • exploration
  • attitudes
  • ethnicity
  • paradigm

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