I initially bought into that convenient sounding term in approaching the planning of the Old Main Line, but quickly realized that there was going to be a bit more required to pull this off. Obviously the main line run is compressed, but in assessing the Layout Design Elements I discovered that more decisions would be required. And that is especially evident for a relatively narrow shelf-type layout.
In analyzing Ellicott City, the layout's signature area, I concluded that outside of the key ROW buildings, the downtown lacked any real significant identifiers or any one specific structure that defined the town. Shrinking, or compressing a series of structures was not going to accomplish too much. That, combined with limited space, required a compilation of signature elements into a few structures to ultimately convey the downtown. I would humbly suggest that perhaps selective representation might be a good term for this objective.
Ellicott City's 19th century buildings were largely built from nearby quarried granite and limestone and tended to be located on the lower part of Main Street adjacent to the railroad.
Photo overviews help to define an area's color palate and distinctive architectural details.
Ultimately, final customization and selective representation will be achieved through color, signage and applied details like awnings, porches and balconies. The siting of the storefronts on the inclined main street will add additional interest and distinction. Everything is certainly compressed, but the analysis and decision making in depicting Ellicott City goes far beyond that.
Geez, and we haven't even talked about selective orientation yet. More on that sometime in the future.
BONUS: RHETORICAL QUESTION OF THE DAY...
Did you know? These days the author defines the term 'selective compression' as the process of deciding upon which Tommy Copper item to wear for his cranky knees and back.