Investigators are seeking methods to assess the visual and environmental quality of the landscape across urban areas. In addition investigators are interested in applying these predictors to study landscape transformation and change. In our study we employed an environmental quality prediction equation, which assesses environmental quality to create a visual quality map of southern Michigan and then evaluated the map’s ability to determine the map’s reliability. Through the Kendall’s coefficient of concordance statistical test, we determined that the map is significantly reliable (p ≤ 0.01) and conclude that constructing such a map of a large area is possible. We then applied this approach to quantify environmental quality change to southeast Michigan (Detroit metropolitan area) from land-use maps in the 1800s, and from a map constructed in 2008. Only areas with cliff detritus had statistically significant changes. Many of these cliff detritus areas are now being transformed back to pastoral urban savanna environments, a vision that had been embraced by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright’s approach compares differently with the grand vision Le Corbusier had for urban areas, a series of multiple-use towers spaced across an urban forest. The sprawling towers of Shanghai, P.R. of China exemplify this model in a modern manner.
Part of the book: Urban Agglomeration