Challenges for design control: Understanding what people want and how to get it

  • YEAR
    Gjerde, Morten
    2016 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science, Landscape and Urban Design
    Conference Papers


The appearance of the built environment plays an important role in people’s physical, financial and psychological wellbeing. In light of this, it is important to ensure that transformation of urban streets and public spaces through individual projects can satisfy the aesthetic expectations of the public as well as of those who are directly involved in their production. Within projects, outcomes are regularly controlled by the steering group on behalf of internal stakeholders. To ensure that the needs of other people are also met, local authorities in some New Zealand cities often review project designs at the planning approval stage. This process invites experts, whose work is informed by design guidance, to express their opinions about the design and other urban design related matters. This paper addresses the question of whether the ways places change aligns with public expectations. A mixed methods approach was used to elicit people’s preferences for building and streetscape characteristics, where stimuli were first presented as photographic representations and secondly as real streetscapes in two New Zealand cities. The findings identify the streetscape design characteristics that were best liked by people and the ones that were disliked. Of particular interest was a comparison between the preferences expressed by lay members of the public with those of design and planning professionals. The paper concludes with a brief discussion about barriers that may be limiting the achievement of well-liked streetscapes in the New Zealand context.


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