Impact analysis of urban and rural landscapes as perceived by respective communities: a case study of Faisalabad City, Pakistan.
A sustainable landscape is an excellent tool for creating positive responses to environmental, social, aesthetic, health and psychological values. The urban environment is comparatively quite different from the rural environment and this study was conducted to determine the preference of communities in both areas for particular landscape features and plantation, to determine the value and benefits gained by the respective communities from those features, and their potential contribution towards the creation of environment suitable for people in urban and rural contexts. A questionnaire was developed in English for documentation and translated in Urdu to acquire information through a combination of open-ended and closed questions. The questions were also asked in local dialect (Punjabi) for the convenience of the respondents. The total sample size was 500, where 300 respondents were purposively selected from Faisalabad city and 200 from surrounding villages of Faisalabad (Chak No. 26 J.B. and 27 J.B). Data were analyzed through SPSS (version 13.1). Chi square test was applied. Respondents from urban areas preferred evergreen plants (92%), particularly shady trees (52%) along with fruit (32%) and flowering (24%) trees. In contrast, people in rural areas liked deciduous trees (65%) with the majority (50%) being fruit trees. Preference for landscape features was more or less similar in both communities. Plant selection was completely different in both communities as people from rural areas preferred native trees but urban communities liked exotic plants more. Benefits perceived by urban communities were of a more psychological nature including; fresh air (84%), calmness (44%), mental satisfaction (24%) and natural beauty (16%), whereas the perception of people regarding landscape planting design of rural areas was influenced by their economic conditions because they preferred timber (35%) and bee farming (20%). They also added that it helps to improve natural beauty (20%), along with mental relaxation (15%). People found threats of low budgets and grazing animals to rural landscapes while, in urban areas, people were more concerned with scarcity of water and low budgets.