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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.

Road infrastructure can be beautiful too. NEPA's emphasis on the overall environment has expanded the context of project aesthetics. The examination of the aesthetic resource element requires consideration of each of the following:
  • Internal Aesthetics - Follows traditional visual design theory to look at a project as a self-contained object, apart from its surroundings.
  • Relational Aesthetics - Considers the visual relationships between a project and specific elements of its surroundings; can be very important in community acceptance of a project.
  • Environmental Aesthetics - Examines aesthetics of the total affected environment; closely related to Scenic.

Info tab Icon -- Federal Highway Administration
Visual Impact Assessment for Highway Projects



Excerpt IconExcerpt Aesthetic Initiative Measurement System (AIMS)
"This project investigates the aesthetic character and visual quality of transportation corridors as seen by local and visiting travelers in Minnesota. The project broadly defines highway corridor landscapes to include the entire "view from the road". This definition is intended to contribute to the substance of context sensitive design by selecting characteristics of landscapes seen from the road that will be relevant for highway design and planning. It assumes that highway travel experiences can have a significant effect on the perceived attractiveness of the places where we live, work and travel." more...
from  TRB 2004 Annual Meeting CD-ROM
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Visual Impact Assessment for Highway Projects
This field guide is intended to help those who prepare or review the coverage of visual impacts in environmental assessments or impact statements for highway projects. The guide discusses how to develop such coverage and how to review its adequacy.
--  Federal Highway Administration
Book Icon Book Aesthetics, Community Character, and the Law
For decades, architects and planners have sought to balance the environmental and economic consequences of development. Today's planners also recognize that the aesthetic aspects of development can play a significant role in the lives of our communities.
--  Scenic America
American Planning Association

Article Icon Article / Paper / Report The Impact of Aesthetics on the Economy and Quality of Life in Virginia and its Localities
There is little question that a quality visual environment is a valuable resource. Scientific evidence has established that individuals experience significant physiological and psychological benefits from being able to view scenes of nature and other attractive sights. Moreover, when asked how much they value having access to such quality visual experiences, individuals consistently respond that it ranks as one of their highest priorities for quality of life. Evidence also shows that by undertaking initiatives to improve the appearance of their communities, local officials can not only improve citizens' quality of life but also their communities' potential for economic development. The state also benefits from such efforts.
-- Virginia Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
Article Icon Article / Paper / Report Aesthetics and Visual Quality Guidance Information
The attached information is intended for use as a guide in the development and discussion of visual quality information in the project development process. It contains information and guidance which can be of use in the preparation of visual impact analyses and in the decision-making process on matters associated with the visual effects of proposed highway projects. It also contains a compilation of FHWA policy, law, policy, procedures, and regulations which have visual quality implications.
--  Federal Highway Administration
Article Icon Trees are Treasure: Sustaining the Community Forest
Trees provide a variety of aesthetic and environmental values, including screening of unpleasant odors, absorption of noise, reduction of pollution and temperatures, and accentuation of the architectural design of buildings. Despite their benefits, trees are disappearing faster than you think. This video shows how communities are protecting trees through strong tree ordinances.
--  Scenic America

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