Colour Perception and Visitor Experiences of Urban Parks as Influenced by an Intense Colourful Urban Artefact: An In-situ Quasi-experiment




aesthetic value, colour contrast, semantic environmental description



Colourful street furniture, fitness and playground equipment has become increasingly common in contemporary urban green spaces. The study aims to increase knowledge about their influence on human perception of urban park settings, and explore the perceived interaction between an orange-coloured urban artefact and the colour schemes of a public park.


This study consisted in first reviewing 794 park visitors through formal observations, and applying the semantic environmental description (SMB) on 102 individuals (park visitors). The analysis of the SMB dimensions used an analysis of variance with a 3x2 factorial design and the perceived colours measured with Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) colour charts.


The findings from the study show that placing intense colourful artefacts in various park environments can both increase and decrease experienced pleasantness and change the overall perceived characteristics of colour (colour contrast).

Research Limitations

The limitation of this study was that only a monochromatic coloured (orange) object with a specific structure and scale was used and that complementary colour combinations were not investigated.  The experimental design did not allow a completely randomized design of the individuals in the study.

Social/Practical Implications

Given the results from the study, we propose that municipalities and landscape architecture offices involved in the planning, design and management of urban green spaces should pay just as much attention to the placement of urban artefacts in a public outdoor context as to the design of the artefacts themselves. Discussing these issues across the planning and management level can help increase consciousness of the impact of intensely colourful street furniture on park visitors colour perception and experiences.


The number of studies on this subject is very limited and performing this study is considered to contribute to the understanding of coloured urban artefacts in urban green spaces.


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Author Biographies

Petra Thorpert, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Petra Thorpert currently work as a researcher and teacher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. She received her PhD in Landscape Architecture from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Jan-Eric Englund

Jan-Eric Englund works as an assistant professor in statistics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology. He received his PhD in Mathematical Statistics from Lund University.


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How to Cite

Thorpert, P., & Englund, J.-E. (2021). Colour Perception and Visitor Experiences of Urban Parks as Influenced by an Intense Colourful Urban Artefact: An In-situ Quasi-experiment. ICONARP International Journal of Architecture and Planning, 9(2), 485–505.