New qualitative research into three example public spaces in the United States offers best practices and obstacles to avoid in the placemaking process.
Nate Storring, deputy director of Project for Public Spaces, writes for the Brookings Institution blog, The Avenue, to provide a list of "takeaways" generated by a recent qualitative study into the holistic effects of three public spaces in the United States.
The research in question is a recent entry in the Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking research series titled "Beyond traditional measures: Examining the holistic impacts of public space investments in three cities." Researchers Hanna Love and Cailean Kok qualitatively examined public spaces in Flint, Mich., Buffalo, N.Y., and Albuquerque, N.M. "to shed new light on these questions and chart a path forward for more equitable and effective placemaking," explains Storring.
Storring focuses on four main takeways from the research, with more detail included in the source article below:
- Public space for 'everyone' don't work for everyone.
- Placemaking needs thoughtful place governance to sustain itself
- When it comes to money, 'how' sometimes matters more than 'how much'
- The future of public spaces is qualitative
On this last point, Storring notes that the groundbreaking observational research techniques pioneered by William H. Whyte and Jan Gehl "to track the number and kinds of people in a space and how they use it" offer a baseline of research that nevertheless fails to capture key issues, such as public perception, interpersonal interactions, and broader benefits to public health, the economy, and the environment. "Since then, academic research on public spaces has continued to evolve, with a growing emphasis on qualitative techniques," according to Storring.
Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape
Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan
Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.
How Infrastructure Communicates Values
The presence and quality of sidewalks, curb cuts, and other basic elements of infrastructure can speak to much more than just economic decisions.
Despite High Ridership, Intercity Bus Lines Are Eliminating Stations
Riders on the ‘forgotten stepchild’ of the U.S. transportation system find themselves waiting for buses curbside as Greyhound sells off its real estate in many U.S. cities.
Buffalo Residents Push Back on Proposed Cap Park
State and local officials say the $1 billion project will heal neighborhoods divided by the Kensington Expressway, but community members say the proposed plan will exacerbate already poor air quality in the area.
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.