The enhancement of landscape values is a significant driver for WSD approaches. This is discussed in some detail in the Auckland Regional Council Technical Report TR2009/083 Landscape and Ecology Values within Stormwater Management (Lewis et al., 2010).
The New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (2010) identifies the following attributes that make up our landscapes:
- Biophysical elements, patterns and processes
- Sensory qualities
- Spiritual, cultural and social associative activities and meanings.
The rich complexity of landscape attributes, their relationships, and diverse cultural perspectives can be difficult to accommodate in land use change. The landscape architecture profession is uniquely placed to assist by recognising the values and attributes of landscape, by managing these for resilience, and by ensuring that they contribute to an ongoing sense of place for a community.
The public is acutely aware of the effects of landscape change on our natural systems. Where natural systems and processes are retained or enhanced in a landscape, there is the perception of sensitivity and stewardship for the local environment. These natural environments provide a range of services that benefit people directly or indirectly, for example as rejuvenating and meditative spaces, becoming important refuges from urban stressors.
Natural character values
Natural character values are recognised under the RMA Matters of National Importance (Part 2 Section 6) in relation to managing the use, development and protection of natural and physical resources. WSD approaches are complementary to the purpose and principles of the RMA by promoting the protection of the natural character values of wetlands, lakes, rivers and their margins from inappropriate subdivision use and development.
A study on natural character, entitled Environmental Performance Indicators (MfE, 2002), describes 'naturalness' as the extent to which natural elements, patterns and processes occur. WSD approaches promote the protection and enhancement of natural character values, particularly for indigenous vegetation and habitats of indigenous fauna and flora, natural drainage patterns, watercourses, wetlands and coastal environments.