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Urban Design Compendium

Landmarks, Vistas and Focal Points

Landmarks, vistas and focal points all enable people to orientate themselves within a place and between different areas.

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London Eye has added a new landmark to the London skyline


  • Enable people to orientate themselves and recognise where they are
  • Emphasise the hierarchy of a place
  • Show the way by emphasizing key locations
  • Create a skyline


  • Vistas can help people connect a network of routes where they are aligned with key buildings
  • The most memorable routes are often those with a varied sequence of long and short views, terminated with landmarks

Focal Points:

  • Distinguish the gateway into a centre by emphasising arrival points
  • Create rhythm in quieter areas by including occasional focal points

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See case studies for 'Creating the Urban Structure'