Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Document Type



Signs are prominent elements of the urban landscape; they display messages to the public, orient people in complex environments, act as social landmarks, and serve as a means of cultural expression. Despite the omnipresence of signs, designers have yet to capitalize on their potential urban spaces as creative design tools for enhancing a sense of place. Using literature and urban case studies, this thesis explores several quantitative methods to learn about effects produced by signs in the urban landscape. Case studies in New Orleans, Louisiana locate every sign in defined areas on Bourbon, Royal, and Canal Street to compare and contrast multiple views through four processes: site, linear, volumetric, and sequential. These processes use statistics, drawings, and photographs to analyze the data by combining traditional means of sign discussion with an exploration of designer’s methods for site analysis. Comparing the results of the three sites exposes differences in sign distribution due to street character and street width. Signs are integral in creating place identity and defining spatial relationships. While this study reveals several interesting results about effects of signs in the urban landscape, it primarily discusses new methods for analyzing signs in existing urban landscapes. The literature review exposes six topics concerning signs in the landscape. While most writings focus only on one topic, this thesis includes elements from each. The ultimate goal is for designers to produce individual identities for places through creative design recommendations.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

J. Kevin Risk