To begin, you need to define your streetscape area. The Ottawa approach suggests as a baseline, that a streetscape is defined as the 21 lots around your property. This includes the lots on either side of your house, as well as those across the street.
In certain circumstances when 21 lots cannot be identified as specified in the baseline example, then a minimum of 12 lots can be used (six on either side of your property). See examples on the figure.
Where there is a unique circumstance that does not meet these minimums, the SCA process allows for other configurations to be used.
After your streetscape area has been defined, the next step is to survey each of the lots for the three characteristics, as follows:
The first characteristic deals with Front Yards. You will need to identify how the front yard of each lot fits into one of the following groups:
Group A: There is a fully landscaped front yard across the whole lot
Group B: There is a landscaped yard in front of the house only
Group C: There is landscaping in front of only a part of the house
Group D: There is little or no landscaped yard
The second characteristic deals with Parking and Driveways. You will need to identify how the front yard of each lot fits into one of the following groups:
Group A: No streetscape impact from onsite parking
Group B: Low streetscape impact from onsite parking (Max 1/3 of the lot width is used for parking)
Group C: Medium streetscape impact from onsite parking (Between 1/3 and 1/2 of the lot width is used for parking)
Group D: High streetscape impact from onsite parking (Greater than 1/2 of the lot width is used for parking)
Once you have collected all the information on each of the lots in your streetscape, you then need to determine which groups (e.g. group A or group B) in each characteristic (e.g. front yards, parking, front entrance) are most commonly represented in your streetscape. The groups that appear most often are considered the dominant character of your streetscape. In the event of a tie, all the groups in the tie are considered dominant.
The dominant character for each area is expressed as a three letter code. For example, if your streetscape has a majority of houses that have:
1. Landscaped front yards in front of the width of the house
2. Low streetscape impact from on-site parking
3. Main door that faces the street.
The resulting character code for this streetscape would be B-B-A