The major purpose of public spaces is to hold social engagements. The enhancement of one’s lifestyle is defined by engaging and being in public spaces. Public spaces have been evolved in terms of functions as well as forms. This evolution has changed the meaning of public spaces in the coming years.So the question is What other potential these social spaces or public spaces carry? And what are the perceptions developed in architectural terms?

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The potential of public spaces in today’s times hold value to:

  1. Encourage social and safer gatherings

Defining meetups in a new way.To take advantage of the built environment.The feasibility of space is proportional to the receptive nature of the public space.Supporting health factors is the key to safer spaces.

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Park in Brooklyn,New york allowing meetups with enforcing social distancing©UN News/Daniel Dickinson|
  1. Supporting local sections of society

Providing an easier solution to get day to day needful items. More the convenience more the deliverance of the space irrespective of the scale of the public space. Such public spaces add on to the economic value of the area.It caters to various sections at different levels on regular basis. It gives grounds to equal opportunities for all. 

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Street market in Myanmar ©Chan Myae Aung
  1. Reducing crime

Spaces are breathing their way out. Excessive crowd leading to unwanted nuisance decreases as a result whereas the needy are coming out front for help and make their sufferings less. Public spaces can be turned to more personal homes for the ones in need. The viability of these spaces also run between the trough and crest of the public to semi-private space. The division of the day can cater to more time-based activities. Overlapping of these activities reduces the chances of unwanted activities.

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Homeless encampment at San Francisco’s Civic Center©AP Photo/Noah Berger
  1. Quality of life

According to World Bank Global

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“Globally, about one-third of a city’s land area is covered by public spaces–ranging from city streets, neighbourhood squares and parks, to public facilities, such as libraries and markets. This is significant,” said Sameh Wahba, World Bank Global Director for Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience, and Land.

This percentage might not be exact but is considerable enough to realise the value of public spaces which defines the Quality of cities lifestyle. Public infrastructure would lose out their meaning if it won’t be used . Quality of life defines health or livability factor. The more demographic it caters to, the more valuable experience would be. Interdependencies of functionality with visual systems could be the formula for quality. Beautiful ruins attract more economic and tourism value. Hence, it open windows of opportunities for all.

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A DIY physically distanced exercise class in Little Mountain, Wales ©Craig Colville
  1. Redefining spatial meanings

The range of public spaces relies more on the contexts. How one can redefine the meaning of public spaces.Various initiatives to encourage people to widen their horizons and make spaces more personal through defining the public spaces differently. The explorative path of reinventing the spatial terms will lead to a greater engagement level.

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Visual notes from “Reimagining and Repurposing Engagement during COVID-19,” a webinar organized by Project for Public Spaces and Connect the Dots©Angelia Yingge Xu
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Redefining the semi-public spaces©Tasnim News Agency, 2020/Erfan Kouchari

“Not only do people perceive things differently in the same situation or environment, they also apply different meanings to what they perceive. It is this variability that makes it very challenging for architects to produce spaces that are equally beneficial and meaningful to their occupants.”

The sense and sensibility of public spaces create an impact on the person’s perception. The impact created holds emotional, Physiological weightage. For example: For 2 people being in the same park might provoke different senses.

Architects/Designers do observe as well as absorb the essence of surrounding elements in which they live, work or worship. The human efficiency factor depends a lot on the space one is in.

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Criteria for developing perceptions for public spaces depends on lot of variables:

  1. Diversity: Human interacts with the built environment with consideration of certain diversified values. So does human behaviour is associated with it. The more relatable the space is the more functional the space would be.
  2. Age group: Somehow age groups have similar relatable factors. Anthropometry of each section of the age group will require attention with its derivatives.
  3. Comfort factor: The comfort factor of a place is defined by the personal association of the surrounding as well as its orientation. Park next to roads won’t make much sense for all.
  4. Senses: Public spaces become more meaningful if they are more adaptive in nature. That adaptability can be achieved by the simulations of different senses by that space. It can be more emotional, visual or can cater to haptic systems.

The cumulative of these factors result as to how one perceives the space. The permutation and combination of these factors may be different for every single person. That’s where the architect/designers enter the world of proximity to create beautiful public spaces for all with balancing above mentioned aspects of perception.

www.pps.org. (n.d.). 10 Benefits of Creating Good Public Spaces. [online] Available at: https://www.pps.org/article/10benefits.

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World Bank. (n.d.). Investing in Public Spaces to Achieve Livable Cities for All. [online] Available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/02/11/investing-in-public-spaces-to-achieve-livable-cities-for-all.

Breffeilh, R. and Azarbayjani, M. (n.d.). Technology and the Senses: Multi-sensory Design in the Digital Age Technology and the Senses: Multi-sensory Design in the Digital Age. [online] . Available at: https://www.huichawaii.org/assets/breffeilh%2C-rebecca–technology-and-the-senses.pdf.

‌The Centre for Conscious Design. (n.d.). Measuring Human Experiences of Public Spaces: A Methodology in the Making. [online] Available at: https://theccd.org/article/measuring-human-experiences-of-public-spaces-a-methodology-in-the-making/.

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Author

Architect with an itch to glitch Architectural Language.Curious about new findings and architecture stories.She believes the world is an exhibition,treats them as concepts to derive narrative for her designs.She sketches but can express better through her writings.

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