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Visual intrusions resulting from the presence of motor vehicles in urban residential areas Park, Donald F.

Abstract

Visual intrusions are a consequence of the presence of motor vehicles in urban residential areas. Measuring the community's level of annoyance to the negative images of vehicles, determining the capacity of the visual environment to accommodate vehicles, and introducing standards of visual quality for the appearance of a neighbourhood are tasks in which urban planners should become involved. In the study of visual vehicular disturbances, literature was reviewed and a case study was undertaken. A questionnaire was organized and administered in three Vancouver residential areas so as to obtain attitudinal and factual information. Attitudinal responses were elicited in regard to the resident's actual environment and to certain standard environments portrayed in photographs. A data analysis involved correlations between variables which were hypothesized to be associated. The main conclusions from the research were, first that residents, when asked directly, do appear to be annoyed by the unattractiveness of vehicles in the residential environment. However, residents do not appear to be sensitive to the importance of visual intrusions as a problem when compared to other adverse vehicular effects. Second, the correlation coefficients were either not statistically significant or not high enough to be conclusive in support of the hypothesized associations between levels of annoyance and (l.) socio-economic status, (2) motor vehicle activity, and (3) effectiveness of visual screening structures. Third, and finally, the visual-capacity of the residential environment to accommodate motor vehicles was perceived to be higher by communities of lower socio-economic status. Because of the uncertain future use of motor vehicles, particularly in light of fuel shortages and rising insurance costs for vehicles, and the high public expenditures required for physical alterations to reorganize vehicular movements and parking facilities, "short-term", "wait and see", "bandaid" type approaches are recommended to mitigate the problem of visual intrusions. A planning alternative whereby accessibility is maintained while measures are -taken to enhance the visual quality leads to an implementing proposal such as visual screening structures.

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