How to create a functional public space that contributes to people’s health, happiness, safety and well-being? How to ensure that over time, these places also remain attractive and relevant? Tastes change, technology develops and the fundamental usage of the space changes. Understanding the need and how we design public spaces is needed in order to future proof our common urban living room.
In October 2019 at the Nordic Architecture Fair in Gothenburg, architects from the UK and Sweden provided their thoughts on this topic, drawing on their own experience of placemaking and how they view the impact of current and future trends. The discussion was led by Pärtel-Peeter Pere, COO and co-founder of Future Place Leadership.
This is a much needed debate in both the Nordics as well as the UK. The approaches to public space are very different and there is much we can learn from each other. For example, in London much of public space is privatised, but private developers often do not treat public space as something residual, an afterthought – but increasingly see it as a way to improve their real estate value and sales.
Placemaking and public spaces make economic sense: people attract people, which creates safety, life and business. How can measure the quality of public spaces or its effect? Measure it with the amount of people present at a public space. That is the clearest sign of a good public space that is safe and has activities to cater to different needs. After that, you can measure that with turnover, real estate value and ROI on real estate projects. State of Place is a very good example of a company that does just that with AI. Beyond that, the use and effect of public spaces can be measured in public health and its macroeconomic benefits over time to the society.
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Video interview with Ethan Kent on the economic benefits of placemaking.
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