Laboratory for the Analysis of Places, Landscapes and European Countryside
Laplec - Service de Géographie rurale de l'Université de Liège

Projets de recherche - Research projects

2011 - 2014 : Public perception towards ordinary landscapes changes. The case of wind energy


Public perception towards ordinary landscapes changes: The case of wind energy Most researchers on landscape perception have focused on natural landscapes. Rural ordinary landscapes analyses are underrepresented in the international literature. Yet they represent the surroundings of lot of people in the European urban sprawl context. This research aims to understand how Belgians perceived their everyday landscapes, especially towards changes induced by the recent huge increase of wind turbines in Belgium. We decode the mechanisms that explain variations in perceived landscape attractiveness. Behind the scene, behind material, some landscapes may be perceived as the place they represent, when the mental landscape overcomes its material aspects. Wind turbines are a textbook case. Despite we are unable to hide them and despite they give an anthropogenic aspect to landscapes, some people will find the “worst” landscape attractive, because – to their eyes - wind turbines give usefulness to that landscape. On the other hand, some people will find they are a scar on the landscape, because – to their eyes – wind energy is not necessary. Combining quantitative and qualitative methods, the research scrutinizes these mental, social and cultural mechanisms.



Prof. Dr. Serge Schmitz, Laplec (ULg)
Prof. Dr. Anton van Rompaey, Physical and Regional Geography (KULeuven)
Prof. Dr. Dan Van der Horst, Environment and Society (University of Edinburgh)
PhDStudent Vincent Vanderheyden, Laplec (ULg)


  • Vanderheyden Vincent, 2016.  Deconstructing Landscape in the Mind of People: an Exploration of Everyday and Wind Energy landscapes, PhD Thesis in Sciences, University of Liege. See Orbi
  • Vanderheyden Vincent, van der Horst Dan, Van Rompaey Anton, Schmitz Serge, 2014, Perceiving the ordinary : a study of everyday landscapes in Belgium, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie. Orbi
  • Schmitz Serge, Vanderheyden Vincent, 2016, Reflexive Loops on Scaling issues in Landscape Quality Assessment, Land Use Policy, 53: 3-7.  Orbi.
  • Schmitz Serge, Vanderheyden Vincent, Vanden Broucke Steven., Loopmans Marten,, 2012, The Shaping of Social attitudes toward Energy-Parks in the Belgian Countryside, Horizons in geography, vol. 81, 83–93. Orbi





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