Pafi, Maria

Wind–Power Marine Landscapes: Visual impacts and public perceptions in Ireland




School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
Queen's University Belfast
Level 3
David Keir Building
Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5AG
Northern Ireland



+44 (0)2890 974254


Current Research:

No landscape topic seems to generate as much public energy at the moment as the siting of wind turbines. Ireland’s national target of 40% of electricity to be generated by renewable energy resources by 2020, has shifted the interest towards the marine space and this has raised the public concern about the impacts on marine landscapes. In this context, this PhD will investigate the potential visual impacts and the public attitudes regarding the deployment of offshore windfarms off the west coast of Ireland. The basic idea is to integrate a GIS - based approach based on visibility analysis on a national-regional scale with an empirical approach that will focus in local case studies to investigate public perceptions and attitudes.

Mapping of visual impacts typically relies on a combination of GIS and viewshed analysis-based methods. However, the public perception of those impacts on the landscapes requires the development of a more sophisticated approach. The plethora of different approaches with no specific theoretical background has produced a large body of literature which is fragmented and does not allow a cumulative contribution to knowledge. Zube’s typology (1984) of landscape perception research paradigms (expert-psychophysical-cognitive-experiential) set the foundations for the establishment of more theoretically – informed approaches. Yet, his call for the development of a general theory of landscape remains largely unanswered. Thus, this research work will develop a conceptual framework building on place – based theories emerging from the experiential paradigm. Emphasis is placed on an in-depth understanding of the experience of interacting with the landscape, its importance to people and its influence on their attitudes towards offshore wind turbines.

Supervisors: Dr Wesley Flannery & Dr John McKinley


MSc (Honours degree) Applied Geography and Spatial Planning - Stream C: Geoinformatics, Harokopio University of Athens, 2015
BSc (5-years Honors degree, Level 7 EQF) Urban Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly, 2013


Marine Institute Dublin - The Cullen Fellowship Program for Postgraduate Research.


Ferri, S., Siragusa, A., Pafi, M., & Halkia, S. (2016). How green are the European Cities ? Exploring the Green European Settlement Map 2016. Publications Office of the European Union.

Pafi, M., Ferri, S., Siragusa, A., & Halkia, S. (2016). Visual assessment of the Green European Settlement Map: exploration and quality performance measures of the green component derived from the ESM algorithm. EUR 28026. Publications Office of the European Union.

Pafi, M., Siragusa, A., Ferri, S., & Halkia, S. (2016). Measuring the Accessibility of Urban Green Areas : A comparison of the Green ESM with other datasets in four European cities. (A. Siragusa, Ed.). Publications Office of the European Union.

Tsilimigkas, G., Stathakis, D., & Pafi, M. (2016). Evaluating the land use patterns of medium-sized Hellenic cities. Urban Research and Practice, 9(2).