Assessing spatial preference heterogeneity in a mixed-use landscape

Lorraine Foelske, Carena J. van Riper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discrete choice experiments are playing an increasingly important role in environmental valuation given their potential to characterize the implicit tradeoffs that stakeholders are willing to make among competing future conditions. Yet, most choice models focus on specific populations and policy issues rather than examining landscape-level preferences across regional spatial scales. We investigated the spatial heterogeneity of public preferences across an American Midwestern county using data from interviews, focus groups, and a mixed-mode household survey that included a discrete choice experiment. This study generated geo-located individual-specific parameter estimates to determine how a suite of land use and economic attributes were driving residents’ visions for the future of Will County, IL, including residential growth, protected grasslands, recreation, agriculture, bison reintroduction, and unemployment rates. Global and local spatial autocorrelation patterns were used to examine the landscape preferences expressed by individual respondents in relation to their neighbors. Results showed that preferences within the sample were heterogeneous across all model attributes. Local spatial autocorrelation findings also revealed local clustering of high to low preferences that was particularly pronounced for agriculture and residential growth. We provide insight on how location of residence relates to stakeholder preferences for landscape attributes to guide planning and management agencies faced with the allocation of scarce resources on the rural-urban fringe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102355
JournalApplied Geography
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Discrete choice experiment
  • Regional planning
  • Spatial autocorrelation
  • US Midwest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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