Community Sensitive Design

Community Sensitive Design (CSD) is a new approach to transportation project development that brings citizens and stakeholders into the design process before major decisions are made. This partnership ensures that community concerns and sensibilities are considered in design plans.

Public Meeting Public Meeting
Already used in a number of states, Community Sensitive Design is considered a mark of excellence in transportation project development. The process has a track record of delivering highway projects that exceed expectations and add lasting value to communities.

CSD projects often include visual elements that reflect an area’s culture and identity:

Basic structures like bridge railings, piers, retaining walls and lighting standards can be shaped, sculpted and colored to fit a visual theme. These low-cost enhancements can add high value and visual impact to a project.
Some CSD projects include artwork on or around structures. Use of public artwork, including work produced by students, offers unique opportunities for community participation.

Also In This Section Interactive Features:

Defining the Identity of communities is part of the CSD process. See how themes from a Visual Preference Survey and input from Neighborhood Committees have shaped the look of the Marquette Interchange project.

Reflecting History and Heritage is important to residents along the North Leg of the project. Enhancements to structures at Walnut Street and Fond du Lac Avenue are being shaped by local artists and by schoolchildren.

Submitted Designs for structural enhancements at Walnut Street and Fond du Lac Avenue recognize the area’s role in the Underground Railroad and the Bronzeville community of the early- to mid- 1900s. (added July 2005)

In the Neighborhood

As part of the planning for the Marquette Interchange project, a Community Sensitive Design Task Force was formed in March 2002. A “Definition Board” specified how Community Sensitive Design could best be applied in context with the project. Three community-based committees joined in a six-month process to give designers input on how the project should look.

The Central Neighborhood Committee was especially concerned with making areas under I-794 more visually appealing and pedestrian-friendly.
The North Leg Neighborhood Committee wanted the area’s deep African-American heritage to be reflected in and around structural elements of the Fond du Lac Avenue and Walnut Street bridges.
An Advisory Committee included representatives from government and business, and a representative from each Neighborhood Committee.
The Neighborhood Committees considered the “view to the road”, or how the reconstructed roadway and structures will appear as seen from local streets. The Advisory Committee considered the “view from the road” – the look, the feel and the overall driving experience motorists will encounter as they use the facility.

Transportation’s Changing Context

Modern society demands quality public works projects that respect and complement their surroundings.

Additional effort to make a highway visually pleasing is not a “strain on the budget”: it is a public expectation.

Community Sensitive Design is the art of creating highways that are safe, efficient and visually pleasing. These projects can raise a community’s quality of life and leave lasting, positive impressions on visitors, tourists, commuters and daily users.

Community Sensitive Design is also about the future. The goal of CSD is to leave a lasting legacy that will add value to a community and withstand the test of time.