Visual evaluation of urban streetscapes: How do public preferences reconcile with those held by experts
journal contributionposted on 12.10.2021, 23:44 by Morten GjerdeMorten Gjerde
Visual qualities of well-liked settings are known to include richness and variety, tempered by perceptible underlying structure and clear associational meanings. For a variety of reasons-among them, technological, economic and professional principles-the design coherence of the built environment appears to have diminished in the wake of Modernism. However, opinions about the quality of the built environment are usually voiced by experts. Does it follow that their opinions are also those of lay people? Indeed, looking beyond academic critique of the appearance of the built environment, what are the views and aesthetic preferences of those who use the city? The article reports on the results of recent research that has evaluated perceptions of and preferences for a range of different urban street scenes. The opinions of the lay public as well as design and planning professionals have been collected for comparison. The research seeks to understand whether there are built-form characteristics, seen across a collection of buildings that make up a street edge, that are preferred over others. Based on data from 200 survey responses and a focus group discussion, the findings identify characteristics that are deemed to foster well-liked urban settings as well as those that should be avoided. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.