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EARL RESER

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9 Characteristics You Should Know about Well-Designed Public Spaces

Role - Freelancer ( San Diego, California, United States of America )
By - Earl Reser
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Views : 23
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Public spaces help shape community ties in neighborhoods by facilitating mobilization and stimulating action, thereby positively influencing the quality of the urban environment. And while there are a number of such public spaces, only a few of them truly make an impact!

Here we take a close look at 9 characteristics of well-designed public spaces. Read on to know what makes some public spaces stand out from the rest!

They Are Designed for the Community

Designing a successful public space essentially means making it meaningful for locals. People of any city will naturally be encouraged to use a public space that is developed to retain original functionality, shows historical perspective, and creates a sense of ownership. Such public spaces are sure to be well-cared for by the public too!

They Highlight the Character of the City

A good public space is one that defines local identity and character, thus creating a sense of belonging in the community. The space highlights differences that set apart the city from others, while also protecting and enhancing surrounding landmarks, streets, materials, and views.

They Are Accommodating

Good design is that which is able to adapt to change. As a public space is not just an expanse of land but is molded by its surroundings and how the people use it, it is necessary for the design to be accommodating. This means that space should be designed such that it allows for future enhancements as new structures are developed in and around it.

They Are Located Centrally

It’s easy to assume that people will flock to a public space regardless of its location if it is simply well-designed. However, this is not true as the location does matter! When the end goal is to create a public space that enhances the local community's urban vitality, the location and surroundings of the public space play as important a role in its success as the design itself. Public space located on a prime real estate like in the center of a metro area is sure to be accessed more than one at the edge of the city.

They Are Accessible to Everyone

Good public spaces have clearly defined streets and paths for pedestrians, cyclists, and people with disabilities. Spaces are well-connected with way-finding signage on paths for ease and safety.

They Display Diversity

A good public space is diverse, blending together residential areas and commercial establishments like restaurants, cafes, bars, local commerce, etc. While this makes a public space vibrant, it also helps generate activities that contribute to safety. In other words, crime is inhibited when you get more people to use the space.

They Draw People In

People are attracted to safe and friendly environments. As such, active facades with connecting ground levels, interesting streets, and human-scale constructions make for good public spaces. It's also important for public spaces to be well-lit to boost safety and facilitate occupancy.

They Make Use of Sustainable Materials

Good public spaces start with carefully designed plans so as to avoid costs related to extra construction and keep maintenance costs low. Such spaces are made energy efficient by using LED lighting systems or solar light fixtures. Environmental impact can be further reduced by the use of locally available materials that can be replaced easily and favor robust and multifunctional materials to extend life and diversify uses.

They Are a Work in Progress

A well-designed public space responds to the needs of the community it serves. As the needs of the community change, so must the public space keep evolving! Also, as amenities wear out over time, ongoing maintenance is a must.

In Conclusion

Public spaces are responsible for filling in urban gaps and influencing relationships created within cities. They not only change the urban environment for the better but also present a host of health benefits for the public!

With the information provided here, you now know what separates good public spaces from the rest. Without these characteristics, a public space is simply a place of passage that has nothing of value to offer to get the public to stay. While we deal with constant transformation, the importance of well-designed, functional public spaces remains the same for urban dwellers!

(Image credit: 1, 2 & 3)
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