The urban visual landscape is often assumed to be a reasonable reflection of the public's preferences. Why else would cities - neighborhoods, shopping malls, street scenes - look as they do? Rarely, however, in the United States at least, does the public have much say in the changed visual landscape. Furthermore, the public's preferences are rarely probed and generally become known only when a major perturbation is proposed. A recent project, to propose a master plan for a major segment of the city, offers some useful insights into these issues, both substantively and procedurally. Results of extensive public participation from diverse elements of the population, suggest that the desire for development may not reflect the majority's views, while the sentiments about natural areas are widely shared.