A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Return on Perception

Urban Land Institute

Publisher of Report on "Design Dividends"

Good Design Offers Both Direct and Indirect Benefits

That was the finding of an interesting study conducted by ULI.  While  financial people understand the concept of Return on Investment (ROI), not all of them are as familiar with the idea of an actual Return on Perception (ROP).  The study defines ROP as “the additional value from applying good design practices to urban development over and above the financial return on investment” – good design does yield both quantifiable and qualitative benefits.

At its core, good design is about memory and perception:  whether a building, a public open space, a street, or an entire landscape, are the first impressions lasting?  Is the place memorable?  Does it meet the needs of people?  Does it have a “distinctive visual identity”?  If so, the study indicates that there will be distinct financial benefits as well!   Consider the differences between say the River Walk in San Anonio, and a basic “vanilla” development – even one that has a mixture of land uses.  What makes the value of River Walk higher?  At least in part, the planning and design effort.

But what is “good design”?  Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder?  The ULI study says that “good design requires a thoughtful response to characteristics of the site and its surroundings, market demands, available technologies, and many other factors, many of which are not directly sensed by beholders”.  It all seems to boil down to the issues of functionality and durability, contextual compatibility, and an enduring respect and value – does it pass the test of time?  It’s about more than codes, design guidelines, LEED certification, Green Building, New Urbanism, and yes – even Sustainability / Smart Growth.  Some folks just say “I know it when I see it”.  But, the bottom line is that when it’s there, dividends will be paid from the value added by good design.

The ultimate goal in economic development today is to be a hot city—one that is known to every recruiter, business analyst, and news reporter as a great place to live and work. An attractive, well-designed physical environment is critical to enhancing quality of life and attracting the talented, skilled knowledge workers who are essential drivers of economic development.

River Walk Photo

Image by Ganju7, from Flickr

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>