Urban routes and commuting bicyclists’ aesthetic experiences
This study examines whether and in what way aesthetic experience is involved in the perceived quality of bicyclists’ chosen routes between their home and work. It is important to distinguish aesthetic experience from experience that is related to the influence of instrumental features. The aesthetic impact is primarily connected to features that stimulate emotional well-being when cycling. An online survey was conducted in three Nordic cities, Odense, Trondheim and Reykjavík, concentrating on cycling in different urban surroundings. The interpretation of the meanings and values associated with certain features or characteristics that influenced the commuting cyclists’ aesthetic experience is based on three theoretical viewpoints: (1) the phenomenology of perception and experience, (2) urban design theory and (3) environmental aesthetic theories and methods. The last theoretical viewpoint involves the interpretation of experience of the environment into aesthetic meaning. The survey results indicate that aesthetic experience is valuable to most of the respondents and is therefore important in developing the quality of bicycle routes for commuting. Greenery, contact with the natural environment and distance from motorised traffic are the most important influences on a pleasurable aesthetic experience.
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