Visual processing of green zones in shared courtyards during renting decisions: An eye-tracking study
We used an eye-tracking technique to investigate the effect of green zones and car ownership on the attrac-tiveness of the courtyards of multistorey apartment buildings. Two interest groups—20 people who owned a car and 20 people who did not a car—observed 36 images of courtyards. Images were digitally modified to manipulate the spatial arrangement of key courtyard elements: green zones, parking lots, and children’s play-grounds. The participants were asked to rate the attractiveness of courtyards during hypothetical renting de-cisions. Overall, we investigated whether visual exploration and appraisal of courtyards differed between people who owned a car and those who did not. The participants in both interest groups gazed longer at perceptually salient playgrounds and parking lots than at greenery. We also observed that participants gazed significantly longer at the greenery in courtyards rated as most attractive than those rated as least attractive. They gazed significantly longer at parking lots in courtyards rated as least attractive than those rated as most attractive. Using regression analysis, we further investigated the relationship between gaze fixations on courtyard elements and the attractiveness ratings of courtyards. The model confirmed a significant positive relationship between the number and duration of fixations on greenery and the attractiveness estimates of courtyards, while the model showed an opposite relationship for the duration of fixations on parking lots. Interestingly, the positive association between fixations on greenery and the attractiveness of courtyards was significantly stronger for participants who owned cars than for those who did not. These findings confirmed that the more people pay attention to green areas, the more positively they evaluate urban areas. The results also indicate that urban greenery may differentially affect the preferences of interest groups.