22 ways to design places people like - through the power of observation. As Village Well remind us - "be a human first and a professional second".
Image - Fountain Square is successful because it delivers the outcomes described below.
Posted by: Andrew Hammonds
Thanks to: Vimeo
I was reminded of William H Whyte's 1980 documentary – “The Social Life of Small Urban Places” by on-line participants in our course (The ‘Bunbury team’). As they said - "entertaining and still relevant". William closes by saying:
"And so we end our film on plazas not in a plaza but on the street.
And that's where we should.
The street is the river of life in the city.
We come to the city not to escape them, but to partake them."
This documentary presents recommendations for public spaces based on analysing how people use them. A reminder of the simple art of observation in urban design and placemaking - practised by Jahn Gehl and David Engwicht.
- create places for people, not for architectural photos
- people are actors - enable them to perform and create the amphitheatre for this performance
- create places for play
- enable choice and personalisation
- focus on enabling people to sit - the "manipulable" chair
- people like to meet at the edges our around features
- don't worry about capacity of places, it is self levelling
- the most important thing about a place is it relationship to the street
- the secondary use of places - to look at or show people
- buskers have a keen sense of place
- avoid removing pedestrians off the street through elevated walkways - eg Detroit or Houston ("brutal rejection of the street")
- don't worry about undesirables - they tend to be in places were people aren't. "In well used places the odd people do us a service - they make us feel normal!"
- successful places have an "un-official' mayor
- protection from the wind is important as is choice about light and sun
- water - the look, feel and sound - but don't put water before people.
- the benefits of trees are so many and yet they are sparse in the city
- street vendors more than food - amenity, mayors, meeting places.
- the role of markets and seating - crunching people together
- triangulation - an activity or event which brings strangers together and provides a connection between them. Buskers, sculpture,
- good objects in places have many functions
- proportions - bigger is not necessarily better
- locate the spaces in the centre of town
These conclusions were developed into mandatory requirements of plazas within the Zoning Code for NY City:
- close linkage to the street
They also strongly recommended
- access to food - street vendors
- disability access - better access for all
- closely tied to the street - in terms of levels
- 50% of retail frontage
The documentary focuses on analysing new plazas and parks in the city. Poignantly, it finishes back on 110 Street, where kids are playing in the street while being watched by their parents. It also happens to meet a lot of the characteristics described above.
Tuesday 31 July, 2012
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