Similar to all forms of development, antenna systems have a visual effect. This visual effect can be attributed to two unavoidable characteristics of antenna systems:

  1. They are structures which generally protrude from other structures; and
  2. They need to be located at suitable heights in order to operate effectively.

These characteristics mean that by necessity, antenna systems may be and often are highly visible in urban and rural landscapes.

Designing for Better Visual Effects- Development of the Antenna Siting Design Framework (ASDF)

As the Antenna Siting Design Framework has progressed it has become increasingly evident that the key to better addressing the visual effect of antenna systems involves:

  1. Undertaking a detailed assessment of the landscape in which the antenna system is to be located; and
  2. Designing the facility to respond appropriately to this landscape setting.

In this way, an antenna system can be designed that is compatible with the landscape setting. The higher the level of compatibility of the antenna system designs with the landscape, the less significant or intrusive the visual effect. Conversely, the less compatible the antenna system is with the surrounding landscape, the greater its visual effect (refer Figure 2).

Visual effect is either caused or ameliorated by the degree of visual change that occurs as a result of development within any environment. Understanding the contextual setting is paramount to developing a design response that is appropriate and in turn compatible. Figure 3 summarizes this relationship.

figure 2 figure 3

In response to this clear relationship between the landscape context, the design and the resulting visibility, the Antenna Siting Design Framework has been developed.

The Antenna Siting Design Framework Guide provides a process which can assist Proponents to determine “what to do where”. The Antenna Siting Design Framework documents and assesses the landscape context of a proposed antenna system and identifies a framework that can be used to design an antenna system that is responsive to the public realm. Section 3 of this Technical Paper explains the Antenna Siting Design Framework Expert System and provides guidelines that explain how to use it.