Turning Highways into Main Streets: Two Innovations in Planning Methodology

Reid Ewing, Michael R. King, Stephen Raudenbush, and Otto Jose Clemente (2005)

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Visual preference surveys have become a popular tool among planning practitioners. By tapping visual media, such surveys help to illustrate physical design alternatives in ways that words, maps, and other media cannot. They have found applications in visioning projects, design charrettes, and other physical planning activities with heavy public involvement. With little additional effort, a visual preference survey can be restructured as a visual assessment study, which provides more useful information. Confounding variables can be controlled, and underlying qualities that cause certain scenes to be preferred can be identified. This article reports on a visual assessment study of state highways, identifying the physical features that can make them into main streets.