Date of Award:

2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Advisor/Chair:

Barty Warren-Kretzschmar

Abstract

In recent decades, landscape design theory has been affected by an increase in pro-environmental values. Currently, concepts of ‘sustainability’ and ‘ecosystem services’ exert a strong influence. These concepts involve sustaining current human behaviors within the constraints of ecological limits and maintaining or enhancing the goods and services that humans receive from ecosystems, respectively. In this way, they are most characteristic of anthropocentric environmental worldviews with high degrees of concern for the instrumental values of ecosystems, which are indicative of shallow ecology.

Previous researchers have advanced theoretical characterizations of the environmental values of landscape architects in terms of environmental ethics. However, as of yet, no statistics-based model has been developed for this purpose. In order to advance such a model, and in the effort to further characterize the environmental values of landscape architects, two studies were performed. Both utilized data collected with the New Ecological Paradigm (revised-NEP) survey.

In the first study, a Shallow v. Deep Worldview model was used to characterize revised-NEP survey responses of landscape architecture students and alumni practitioners from Utah State University (USU) in terms of shallow or deep ecology. The results indicate that the groups exhibited essentially anthropocentric environmental values, which were characteristic of shallow ecology worldviews.

In the second study, the revised-NEP survey was used to assess the environmental worldviews of general education and landscape architecture students at USU. The results indicate that the landscape architecture students exhibited greater pro-environmental worldviews, which were correlated to differences in political orientation between the groups.

Overall, the results of the two studies support the notions that the study or practice of landscape architecture is correlated to greater pro-environmental values than are common for general higher education students, and that, in general, current landscape architecture students and practitioners exhibit environmental values that are characteristic of ecologically-concerned, yet essentially anthropocentric, shallow ecology worldviews.

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