Landscaping preferences influence neighborhood satisfaction and yard management decisions

Riley Andrade, David M. Hondula, Kelli L. Larson, Susannah B. Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Residential landscapes support human well-being and ecological functioning in urban ecosystems. Trees and native plants in yards and neighborhoods positively influence satisfaction, an important component of human well-being and quality of life. However, these patterns may not hold true in arid ecoregions, where the composition of desert vegetation contrasts the tall, broad-leafed trees of temperate regions. The effects of xeric, desert-like landscaping on satisfaction with the neighborhood environment are especially important to consider given the large amount of resources required to support people's propensity for grassy yards. Although place satisfaction is related to pro-environmental behavior, the multi-scalar relationship between yard management decisions and satisfaction with the neighborhood environment has yet to be established. Here, we test the social-ecological dynamics of landscape preferences, satisfaction with trees and desert plants, and management intensity in residential yards and neighborhoods throughout the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona, USA. We found that wealthy neighborhoods close to desert open space were intensively managed and supported the highest levels of satisfaction. However, there was no direct relationship between satisfaction and management intensity for people who preferred xeric landscaping. Instead, management intensity for people with xeric preferences was related to demographics, such as income and home ownership. There was a relationship between satisfaction and management intensity for people with mesic preferences, suggesting a resource cost to maintain satisfaction for lush, green landscaping in a desert city. Overall, our study supports the assertion that changing yard landscaping may not result in desired changes for high-input management practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number126983
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Volume59
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Desert environments
  • Environmental attitudes
  • Landscaping preferences
  • Neighborhood satisfaction
  • Residential landscapes
  • Trees
  • Yard management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Soil Science

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