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Wang, Zhifang, J. Nassauer, R. Marans, and Daniel Brown. 2012. "Different Types of Open Spaces and Their Importance to Exurban Homeowners." Society & Natural Resources, 25(4): 368-383.
Exurban residential settings are relevant for understanding how societal desires for open space impact landscapes and their ecosystem services. In a 2005 image-based web survey of 468 exurban homeowners in southeast Michigan, we investigated how exurban home-buying choices may be related to having open space nearby, and we measured homeowners' relative preferences for seven different types of open spaces characterized by different ecosystem services. Our study confirms that nearby open space is important to exurban homeowners, but it suggests that homeowners are somewhat heterogeneous in their preferences for different types of open spaces. They generally prefer forests, lakes, and streams, but their preferences for wetlands, prairies, playgrounds, and golf courses vary somewhat with education, age, or having children. In addition, homeowners for whom open space was less important when they bought their home had somewhat different preferences. We discuss the implications for protecting ecosystem services in planning, design, and development.