ABSTRACT

It is widely understood that views have great monetary value, as evidenced by their real estate value. However, this value has been difficult to assess in the abstract. Views have long been tightly entwined with property rights. They often convey a sense of ownership, supervision, mastery, and privilege to those that have them, even in public places when there is no direct ownership involved. This may partly be because views reinforce a potent sense of place and orientation, providing a definitive reminder of ‘where you are’ in time and place. However, unlike other more transitory sensory experiences, views can also convey a sense of permanence and timeless connection, as reflected in many place names.

Recurrent experiences of any given view can evolve into a highly personalized ‘point of view,’ impacting one’s sense of self, and even providing an odd sense of companionship. People’s fondness for views builds over time, as cognitive and emotional interactions accumulate, almost regardless of content. As a result, many writers report that the view at their work desk helps them more easily re-enter their literary mental state, maintain their focus, and then effortlessly return back to present reality.