The Form and Use of Public Space



The Form and Use of Public Space

Authors

GEHL J, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Denmark

Description

Among the various people activities taking place in Public Spaces three distinct categories of activities can be defined. Necessary activities (transport & buisness activities), Optional activities (recreational activities) and Social activities.

Abstract

Among the various people activities taking place in Public Spaces three distinct categories of activities can be defined. Necessary activities (transport & buisness activities), Optional activities (recreational activities) and Social activities.

Necessary activities -what you have to do. These activities are generally of a rather purposeful character, they take place at all times and more or less regardless of the quality of the physical environment.

Optional activities - what you like to do, and get tempted to do, when given the right circumstances:This category describes a wide range of very popular recreational activities. Standing about looking at street life, sitting to rest, sitting for a while to enjoy the place, the scenery, the open air, the trees and flowers, sitting on a sidewalk care, enjoying the street scenery and so on. These activities are entirely optional -no one is forced to engage in them, but whenever the circumstances are right -when the quality of the physical environment is fine- these urban recreational activities tends to occur in great numbers because many people find recreation in urban spaces with other people, especially attractive to engage in.

These activities are to a large extent rather spontaneous -impulse activities- often occuring when you are actually just passing through the city involved in other purposes, and suddenly gets the inspiration to stay for a while.

Social activities -meeting your fellow citizens: In one end of the scale will be the major civic events, the festivals, parades, protests, ceremonies. Another - and indeed very important category of social activities - are the multitude of humble daily day encounters: Meeting your fellow citizens on the sidewalks, seeing and hearing people, experiencing what happens in the city. These social activities cover a broad array ranging from those just passively being present taking in the scene, to those using the public spaces for active communication to the other citizens - - music, theater, vendors, distributors of pamphlets, ideologies and so on. The unplanned and unexpected meetings.

All these humble daily encounters are among the highest valued attractions the city can offer.

Any city will have some necessary activities. A good, popular and loved city will always have necessary plus many optional and social activities.

Publisher

Association for European Transport