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Policy Statement 117 - Aesthetics


Approved by the Infrastructure and Research Policy Committee on January 24, 2011

Approved by the Public Policy Committee on February 7, 2011

Adopted by the Board of Direction on April 1, 2011 



The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports aesthetic quality in engineering design.  As aesthetics are integral to good engineering design and sustainability, the cost of aesthetic quality should also be integral to design and construction budgeting.  Aesthetic quality should be an element of the planning, design, construction, operations, renovation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and security enhancement of the built environment.


An engineering design can enhance or detract from the environment by virtue of the quality of its visual characteristics.


Aesthetic harmony should exist between civil engineering designs and the environment within which these designs are constructed.  The environment is both natural and man‑made, and its aesthetic qualities should be preserved and enhanced by design.  Basic design qualities can seldom be economically added once a project is constructed.  Visual quality and aesthetics must be considered throughout the design process.  Aesthetic quality can be achieved in ways that maintain or enhance functional quality.


ASCE Policy Statement 117 

First Approved in 1969