Urban Design Preferences (08-09-22)

Gjerde and Vale asked people walking along an urban street about their visual preferences.  They report that “The appearance of the built environment is an important matter for most people, as it can affect their physical, financial and psychological wellbeing. . . . People were invited to indicate their preferences while walking along three streets in New Zealand cities. The survey responses were supplemented by two focus group discussions. . . . people prefer streetscapes where differences in height and architectural composition vary within a narrow band of difference along the length of the street. At the scale of the individual building façade, people were found to prefer traditional cladding materials such as brick and those that could be painted or refinished. Compositionally, people preferred buildings with discrete window openings, a finding that was strongly supported by a dislike for horizontally banded façade treatments. The findings invite questions around contemporary architectural design practices and how these can be directed toward creating a better liked built environment.”

Morten Gjerde and Brenda Vale.  “An Examination of People’s Preferences for Buildings and Streetscapes in New Zealand.”  Australian Planner, in press, https://doi.org/10.1080/07293682.2022.2029922