The Timeless Value of Visuals to Planning

Throughout the history of planning, compelling visuals have been essential to communicating the concepts established in "our most influential plans," says Howard Blackson. That tradition continues in New Urban placemaking endeavors.

"That tradition of crafting great visuals to convey great ideas has, through New Urban placemaking endeavors and the form-based regulating plans that codify them, been resurrected," argues Blackson. "Our illustrations now range from photo visual simulations to exacting line drawings to charming watercolors. As tastes change over time, the timelessness of great visuals remains."

"For example, last November the citizens of El Paso successfully passed a neighborhood-focussed Quality-of-Life bond with an amazing 70% voter approval because it was linked to a visually compelling Vision Plan led by Dover, Kohl & Partners. Meanwhile, San Diego’s brilliant City of Villages policy plan sits in stasis for lack of any visual maps, graphics or illustrations to build long-term political will."

"The point is, while plans may provide decision-makers with information, they also provide a politician’s constituents the ability to envision an unknown, and thereby risky, future. As John Nolen eloquently wrote in San Diego’s 1926 Comprehensive Plan, 'City Planning is: #1) An aid to the man in the street to visualize his city properly planned.'”

Full Story: Next Urbanism Lab 05: The Value of Visuals

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