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A Case for Aesthetic Legislation

 

Urban Character

Aesthetic legislation must, at its core, differentiate between arbitrary issues of taste and researched ideals of aesthetics. Attributes of the city proven successful over time, including “place identity” and the balance of order with complexity, result in cities across the globe implementing design standards. From the row houses of Philadelphia to the low rise density of the Netherlands, design standards, zoning, and aesthetic legislation help to establish the char-­ acter that makes each city unique. These guidelines have been carefully modified through generations to maintain urban integrity while allowing for growth and change within the city.

 

Types of frame controls

 

The “place identity” of Chandigarh was envisioned by Le Corbusier and Nehru as the city of India’s future. While opponents of frame control may argue the parameters are too constricting to allow for creativity or personalization of homes in the city, one only has to walk the streets of Chandigarh, to see the diversity possible within the frame. A quick exercise giving a group of architecture students a residential frame and permitted sizes of openings per Chandigarh’s aesthetic legislation parameters resulted in the textured street elevation below. In both instances, it is apparent that these boundaries do not stifle the design, but create both the order and complexity needed in an aesthetically successful city.

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