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Assessing the use of Photorealistic and Computer Simulated Landscapes to Understand the Cumulative Landscape and Visual Impacts of Onshore Wind Turbines

Meade, Keelan (2018) Assessing the use of Photorealistic and Computer Simulated Landscapes to Understand the Cumulative Landscape and Visual Impacts of Onshore Wind Turbines. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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PhD Thesis Keelan Meade.pdf
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Abstract

There has been considerable research into issues around the social acceptance and visual impact of wind farms. However, relatively little is known about the factors that contribute to the cumulative landscape and visual impacts (CLVI) of wind turbines. With the continued growth of onshore wind power in the UK, understanding the CLVI of wind power developments is increasingly important. The majority of research which has studied the landscape and visual impact of wind turbines has used static photomontages. Some researchers have suggested that computer simulations should be used for research, as well as interactive design and planning. However, little if any research has been done which objectively assesses the validity of using these simulations. This thesis set out to address these methodological and theoretical gaps in the literature. Chapters 3 and 4 present two studies that were carried out to assess physiological responses to videos of wind turbines in a real-world and computer-simulated landscape (created using Sketchup and Google Earth). The findings showed that participants’ visual patterns were similar for the photorealistic and computer-simulated landscape, however the skin conductance response (SCR) data showed that affective responses were quite different. Given the different in affective response, these studies called into question the validity of using computer simulations to represent wind turbines in the landscape. Chapter 5 presents a study which attempted to examine whether the differences found in studies 1 and 2 were of any practical significance. As such, it sought to examine if there were any differences in preferences based on whether people were present with a photomontage or a computer simulation. The study also sought to better understand the factors that contribute to the CLVI of wind farm extensions. Results suggest that people’s preferences are not affected by whether they are presented with photomontages or computer simulations. The results also suggest that size, number, visual match, and turbine distribution are important factors in contributing to the visual impact of wind farm extensions. Collectively, the three studies illustrate novel methods for research into the CLVI of wind turbines. The studies also provide support for the use of computer simulations in research and interactive design and planning, as well as giving some insights into the factors that affect the CLVI of wind farm extensions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Landscape (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Keelan Meade
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2018 09:38
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2018 09:38
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21029

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