Atlas – Preservation Leadership Forum – A Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Atlas of ReUrbanism is an evolving and expanding tool, allowing users to explore the built environment of American cities, block by block. Using our maps, you can interact with data on your city’s built assets, and click to layer demographic, economic, and environmental data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey, and more. The maps focus on the Character Score for buildings and blocks across 50 U.S. cities, as established in the Preservation Green Lab’s Older, Smaller, Better report. Individual building and block characteristics are also selectable and viewable. Cities currently available interactively are indicated below by red pins….

Beautiful Places: The Role of Perceived Aesthetic Beauty in Community Satisfaction

Our main findings confirm the hypothesis: beauty and aesthetics are among the most important factors in perceived community satisfaction. In fact, only one of the coefficients, that for current economic conditions, was stronger. Our findings for beauty and aesthetics lend support to those by Glaeser et al. (2001), and Carlino and Saiz (2008), among others, who highlight the importance of amenities in urban and regional development.

John Hayes (Minister of State for Transport): The Journey to Beauty (2016)

The rarity with which the case for beauty is articulated is explained partly by timidity, and partly by unwillingness to challenge modernist determinism; by the surrender of many decent people to the Whiggish notion that the future is bound to be better than now and, in any case, there isn’t much we can do about altering it. The aesthetics of our built environment – including our transport architecture – has suffered from what Sir Roger Scruton has called the Cult of Ugliness. Yet there are signs that we’re on the cusp of a popular revolt against this soulless cult, and…

Stamps and Nasar: Design Review and Public Preferences (1997)

The findings confirm the stability of earlier research showing the public to dislike modern or atypical styles (Groat, 1982; Devlin & Nasar, 1989; Purcell & Nasar, 1992) and it confirms findings of a large effect of style independent of location of the style (Purcell & Nasar, 1992; Purcell, 1995). It also extends those findings in two ways. First, it shows the results as stable for respondents from two very different cities. It also shows the results as stable for respondents of differing levels of sensation seeking. Both high and low sensation seekers favored the popular styles to the high style…

Architecture and our duty to beauty | The Independent

… the case I have been making for beauty as public good rests on the fact that it does not require us to get into controversial disagreements about matters of fine aesthetic judgement. So, it may indeed be true that “beautiful” is not the only positive aesthetic judgement, but when we are concerned with public space, we are not primarily concerned with making those other kinds of judgements. What we’re interested in is simply creating or preserving a shared space that enhances the lives of people who live in it. I might think a building is utterly wonderful but concede…

Favored 14 to 1 in Post-Katrina Architecture: New Orleans Styles over Contemporary Styles

“Our study reveals that in selecting an exterior aesthetic for their new homes, New Orleanians reached into their historical treasure chest. Whether you call it historicism, historical revival, neotraditionalism, pastiche, retro, or New Urbanism — we use the terms more or less interchangeably — the upshot is clear. In the rebuilt streets of 21st-century New Orleans there are thousands of new houses paying homage to 19th-century New Orleans. The number rankings were overwhelming. New homes in historical styles (“6” through “10” on our scale) were 14 times more popular than contemporary styles …” Source: 14 to 1: Post-Katrina Architecture by…

How Urban Geometry Creates Neighborhood Identity — Strong Towns

On any given block, there might be a handful of small apartment buildings—three-flats—which are usually clustered near intersections and on major streets. Everything else is modest single-family homes, built on lots the same size as the three-flats. What kind of community is this? Well, if you were to walk, bike, or drive around it, you would spend most of your time in front of these bungalows, which make up, on the block pictured above, fully 75 percent of the buildings. Visually, they define the landscape; the three-flats are accents, notable but clearly in the minority. If you lived in this…

Andrés Duany:  Why We Code | Studio Sky

Within the last half-century, some 30 million buildings have degraded cities and reduced landscapes. Must we tolerate this comprehensive disaster in exchange for the (perhaps) three thousand great buildings that great architects have produced? Such a win-loss ratio is as unacceptable in architecture as it would be in any other field. We are compelled to intervene and have found that codes are the most effective instruments of reform.We must code because the default setting in contemporary design is mediocrity and worse. Those who object to codes imagine that they constrain architectural masterpieces (their own, usually). But great buildings are few…


Catfiddle Street is a neighborhood development project located in Charleston’s historic district, currently in process. We hope that this project will inspire pride in place and encourage others to build to last in order to create a more durable, permanent future. Source: Projects — URBAN ERGONOMICS

Architecture of Alienation | Peter J. Leithart | First Things

As both architects understood, architecture makes the world into the image of cosmology it envisions. Alienated moderns produce alienating architecture that forms a built environment that reinforces alienation. A cosmology of harmony reinforces that harmony in our experience by building houses that make us sense that we are at home in this world. Source: Architecture of Alienation | Peter J. Leithart | First Things