Benefits of urban spaces: social | emotional | orienting?

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#1
As planners and designers, we intrinsically know the benefits of creating great public spaces that are safe, comfortable and exciting....weather they are civic plaza's or small urban green spaces.....but sometimes we come across a client who's world is completely bases on scientific data. To this end, does anyone know a reputable contemporary source of good qualitative and quantitative studies that shows how public spaces benefit people....especially as a means of orienting users and promoting social interaction?

thanks all!
 

ColoGI

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#2
As planners and designers, we intrinsically know the benefits of creating great public spaces that are safe, comfortable and exciting....weather they are civic plaza's or small urban green spaces.....but sometimes we come across a client who's world is completely bases on scientific data. To this end, does anyone know a reputable contemporary source of good qualitative and quantitative studies that shows how public spaces benefit people....especially as a means of orienting users and promoting social interaction?

thanks all!
The card catalogue and periodical search at your very nice library has many sources. The light through the windows and the view down on Evans this time of year are very nice.
 

wahday

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#4
Look at William Whyte and the Project for Public Spaces site. Whyte spent a lot of time scientifically studying human behavior in public spaces and what factors impact specific activities. Building on that work (being that Whyte is dead), PPS has created a slew of formulaic design elements for public space - from the height and depth of desired seating options (including classifications like movable versus unmovable seats) to the calculated use of white noise (from, say, fountains), sight lines and mobile vendors to activate spaces. Pretty interesting stuff.

http://www.pps.org/

You might also look at Christopher Alexander's somewhat recent web-based project that builds on his seminal book A Pattern Language. Pretty interesting, but requires some serious time investment: http://www.patternlanguage.com/

Perhaps also Kevin Lynch?
 
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#5
Not only are open space important for safe, comfort and excitement, but a well designed open space that forms part of open space strategy that is based on ecological features can help in the functioning and increase in species richness and enhancement of a ecosystem.

Charl De Villiers a specialist in biodiversity in South Africa and he has done some studies on how important it is to have a hallway or coridor between open spaces. Currently in South Africa strategies regarding the improvement of such corridors (environmental precincts) form part of environmental frameworks that planners have to take into acount when formulating future development strategies.

Now I cant give you hard quatitave data as the debate surrounding the economic value of the environment is still very active and very diverse reasoning for or against the matter.

I hope some of the info I have given gets the old grey matter going a bit. :)
 

Howl

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#6
George Hazel of Hazel McLean in Edinborough (http://www.mrcmh.com/our-services/cities/) has done a lot of work regarding the balance between Exchange Space (where people can interact) and Mobility Space (where people can move). Both spaces are required for a healthy city, but he says that in most modern cities too much public space have been given over to moving people and not enough to allowing them to meeting up to exchange ideas.
 
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