Differences in trail preferences for social conditions of visitors to forests in Vienna and Sapporo were investigated in 2006 using a standardised image-based stated choice approach. On-site visitors to two comparable peri-urban forests - the Lobau Forest in Vienna, Austria (n=373), and the Nopporo Forest in Sapporo, Japan (n=256) - evaluated the same sets of computer manipulated images depicting 128 trail scenarios with different levels of social stimulation. Latent class segmentations, in three sub-segments of similar sizes, differentiated by partly opposite preferences for social conditions, were derived for both samples. A positive contribution of social stimulation to preferences was found for about 17% of Nopporo and 9% of Lobau respondents, while for close to 50% of Lobau respondents and 38% of Nopporo respondents very low levels of social stimulation were preferred. The results indicate that urban forests should be managed for users with a desire for low social densities as well as a denser social setting providing some levels of social stimulation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): 18158-G05 and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). The authors want to thank Dr. Yoji Aoki, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, for his help in establishing the cross-cultural studies, as well as the forest department of the City of Vienna.
- Social stimulation
- Stated choice
- Trail use
- Urban forest