Development of a new approach for appraising the aesthetic quality of cities

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Title: Development of a new approach for appraising the aesthetic quality of cities
Author: Olascoaga, Jose Fernando
Abstract: Environmental psychologists , architects , urban planners , geographers , and others have proposed a number of methods for appraising the aesthetic quality of cities . This dissertation analyzes and evaluates those methods and proposes a new approach for conducting aesthetic appraisals of cities . Existing approaches to urban aesthetic evaluation may be divided into two broad categories : (1 ) expert -based , and (2 ) lay -based . In expert -based appraisal , analysis is carried out by one or more individuals who have special training or experience that qualifies them to judge urban aesthetics . Lay -based appraisals solicit public opinion about the aesthetic quality of the urban environment . The method developed in this research combines these two approaches . A combined public -expert criticism has the advantage of combining the popular aesthetic sense with the more structured views of experts . This approach is applied to Lubbock as a pilot study . Four sample groups were asked to indicate the most and least visually appealing areas in the city and to give the reasons for their selection . The results were analyzed by content analysis and mapped . Then the twelve highest and lowest ranked areas were subject to a design analysis by the investigator (expert ) . The results of the lay and expert views were analyzed using triangulation methods . The results of the research found that the public is generally consistent in the criteria they utilize for appraising cities . They also reveal some design properties that are common to the most or least appealing areas of the city . Results of the pilot study show that the new method of aesthetic evaluation is consistent , universal in its applicability , easy to use , and useful for identifying areas that have high or low aesthetic appeal and determining the factors by which they are identified . Findings indicate that a construct of aesthetic quality , based on properties of urban form , is sufficient for design analysis , but not for understanding public appraisals . The author suggests an inclusive construct of aesthetic quality of cities that associates properties of urban form with others of social interaction .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /10406
Date: 2003-08


Development of a new approach for appraising the aesthetic quality of cities. Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2346 /10406 .

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