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Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2593;

Visual Analysis of the Height Ratio between Building and Background Vegetation. Two Rural Cases of Study: Spain and Sweden

Department of Human Science, University of La Rioja, Logroño 26006, Spain
Department of Graphics Design, University of Extremadura, Plasencia 10600, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Sustainable Built Environment)
PDF [30862 KB, uploaded 24 July 2018]


The perception of apparent sizes of buildings in a rural environment depends on the height ratio between the building and its surrounding vegetation, and it is this parameter which is currently used to assess the built landscapes. The impact of a contrasting height is less strong if the building does not exceed the horizon line. For buildings overshooting the skyline, the building’s level of sharpness and number of lines in contrast to the sky determines the impact of the scales, and vegetation in the background helps to reduce impact. The specific objectives of the present study were: (1) finding height–ratio thresholds between building and background vegetation, which may improve the integration of rural buildings in sky-sensitive locations, and; (2) comparing the results in two rural contexts with very different climatic conditions: Spain and Sweden. A survey of eighteen scenarios (nine Spanish and nine Swedish), all digitally modified with different relative height ratios between vegetation and buildings, was performed. The survey was evaluated by the public from both countries. Regardless of the country of origin, integration of the building was good or very good when the vegetation in background did not exceed one half of the height of the construction. These results may be translated to technical criteria for planning assessment. View Full-Text
Keywords: landscape; buildings; vegetation screens; visual impact landscape; buildings; vegetation screens; visual impact

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Garrido-Velarde, J.; Montero-Parejo, M.J.; Hernández-Blanco, J.; García-Moruno, L. Visual Analysis of the Height Ratio between Building and Background Vegetation. Two Rural Cases of Study: Spain and Sweden. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2593.

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