CSS: Preserving and Enhancing Resources

Throughout U.S. history, there has been a strong relationship between streets, roads, highways, and bridges and the history and culture of places that grew around the transportation infrastructure. Roads and transportation are integral to the development of cities and towns and have become important cultural symbols of those places, whether it be Broadway in New York City or Route 1 along the Big Sur coast in California.

CSS is a tool to reestablish a better balance between the cultural, aesthetic, scenic, and other resources of a place with the design and purpose of the road. CSS begins with understanding specific resource elements that make up the context -- Aesthetic, Archeological, Community/Economic, Cultural, Environmental (or "Natural"), Historic, Recreational, and Scenic.

Aesthetic Context
In examining the Aesthetic Context, consider the visual qualities of a design element both as a self-contained object and as a part of its surrounding environment.
Archeological Context
  Visible, physical evidence of past human life or activities describes the Archeological Context.
Community Context
People talk a lot about community, but what does it really mean?
Cultural Context
  Cultural Qualities are not necessarily expressed in the landscape; rather, culture encompasses all aspects of a community's life.
Environmental Context
The origin of much highway legislation, and the roots of CSS, come from concerns about the impact of a road project on the natural environment - air and water quality, endangered species and animal habitats, and landscapes and vegetation.
Historic Context
History permeates our landscapes and communities. How to incorporate historic qualities, elements and features begins with understanding their significance today.
Recreational Context
Roads and highways lead to recreational sites and can also be recreational facilities in themselves. The Recreational Context encompasses resources for outdoor recreational activities.
Scenic Context
Scenic resources are in part responsible for our emotional attachments to place, and this emotional dimension can make scenic resources difficult to describe or measure. Yet the importance of scenic resources requires that we develop ways to understand and measure them so we can better manage and protect them.
Excerpt IconExcerpt Context Assessment
In order for a designer to be sensitive to the project's surrounding environment, he or she must consider its context and physical location carefully during this stage of project planning. Some of these issues to be considered are; the physical characteristics of the corridor, how is it being used, what are the existing conditions, and what is the make-up of the local population. more...
from  Flexibility in Highway Design
Book Icon Book Byway Beginnings: Understanding, Inventorying, and Evaluating a Byway's Intrinsic Qualities
The purpose of this publication is to provide byway organizers and planners with information on how to conduct an inventory and evaluation of a byway's intrinsic qualities. It does this by answering the following questions: What is a scenic byway and what is the National Scenic Byways Program? Should I consider byway designation in my community? What are the first steps to organize a local byway effort? What intrinsic qualities must a road have to be considered a scenic byway? How can I shape an interpretive story for my road? Will my road be eligible for consideration as a National Scenic Byway? What do I need to do to submit a nomination for becoming a National Scenic Byway? What is included in a corridor management plan?
--  National Scenic Byways Program
National Park Service

Feedback, questions, comments, or problems?

Copyright © 2005 Context Sensitive All rights reserved.
About Us | Site Map | Privacy Policy

United States Department of Transportation - logo
Privacy Policy | Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) | Accessibility | Web Policies & Notices | No Fear Act | Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse | U.S. DOT Home | |

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000