Types of Public Spaces

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URBAN DESIGN IV

Lecture 09: Types of Urban spaces

Lawrence Ogunsanya lawrencesanya@yahoo.com ogunsanya@ukzn.ac.za

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PUBLIC SPACE/REALM

IN CITIES

Public space/realm is defined as space that is shared communally by the public.

Public space is intimately linked to the ideas of universal access, the common ground, and shared amenities.

Examples include parks, plazas, pedestrian pathways, and streets, indoor spaces

such as atriums, shopping centres, and community centres.

Public spaces influence the form and function of cities and the daily interactions that take place at the community level. Rooftop and community gardens, and street cafes demonstrate new examples of public spaces that are emerging as significant components of the public space/realm landscape.

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• The public realm belongs to everyone. It comprises public urban spaces and other outdoor places that

require no key to access them and are available, without charge for everyone to use.

• Public spaces should not be seen in isolation but in the context of its adjacent buildings, their uses and its

location in a wider network of public and private space.

• The three key elements that influence the public

realm are:

• The buildings that enclose and define the space; • The space itself; and

• The people that inhabit the public realm and the way they use the space.

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TYPES OF PUBLIC SPACES

• There are five identified types of public spaces • CORPORATE SPACES

• DOMESTIC SPACES

• CONSUMPTION SPACES • CIVIC SPACES

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• Corporate spaces are usually privately owned spaces characterised by the corporate entities which bound them.

• These spaces are predominantly used by workers of the surrounding corporations, but may host other user

groups temporarily.

• Distinguishing characteristics:

• Corporate spaces are commonly created by commercial developers.

• They are used primarily by office workers for meeting colleagues, smoking and lunch breaks.

• Impressive architecture, high quality materials, and public art.

• Visible security and effective maintenance of the space • Promotion of retail & commercial activities

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• Examples:

• Hotel lobbies/foyers, Shopping mall, food court, Airport terminal, office park square, university sqaures etc.

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CORPORATE SPACES

• Challenges:

• Omnipresent security intimidate and portray a feeling of unwelcome towards visitors of corporate spaces.

• Extended use of space not always encouraged due to dominant ownership.

• Due to Branding, corporate spaces frequently use similar design styles and materials. This can lead to

homogeneity.

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CORPORATE SPACES

• Design requirements:

• Corporate spaces should provide a safe area that has enough capacity to accommodate the extremes of

pedestrian traffic.

• Adequate lighting and security

• Corporate spaces should provide a comfortable area that is welcoming, inviting and inclusive.

• landscaping and public art

• Well established management regime • Use of high quality materials

• Provision of retail space and branding • Accessibility

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DOMESTIC SPACES

• Domestic spaces are public open spaces in close proximity to a cluster of homes and residential

developments, domestic squares offer a space for both formal and informal social activity.

• A local environment for people of all ages to play, to relax, to enjoy the sun, to meet their neighbours

• Distinguishing characteristics:

• Predominantly characterised by the residential uses that surround them.

• A space were residents involve in many recreational or relaxation activities.

• Defines a neighbourhood scale and identity in the context of working environments

• Provides a degree of intimacy and seclusion within the dense and bustling urban fabric.

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DOMESTIC SPACES

• Examples:

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DOMESTIC SPACES

• Challenges:

• Failure to achieve balance of actives • Intimacy, safety and comfort

• Natural surveillance • Sense of Ownership • Poor maintenance

• Design requirements

• Engagement: Creating Responsive Spaces • Inclusive & Sustainable Spaces

• Use of different materials is an important tool for defining spaces and pathways.

• Designation of primary and secondary movement

corridors through the square and clustering of activity types

• Provision of intimacy, furniture and shade • Accessibility, Flexible and adaptive

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DOMESTIC SPACES

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CONSUMPTION SPACES

• Consumption spaces are public open spaces, part of the public realm where ‘consumption’ activities are

predominant.

• Often a combination of fixed retail, informal trade and mobile temporary stalls. They are by essence places where people meet, trade, recreate and exchange.

• Distinguishing characteristics:

• Three main spatial typologies have been identified:

• The corridor shape is usually characterized by a linear continuity of the shop frontages and a relatively narrow width between the building frontages.

• The square shape is a typical square surrounded mainly by retail venues at the ground floor.

• The crossing of streets very probably generated by the “natural” meeting occurring at such places.

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CONSUMPTION SPACES

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CONSUMPTION SPACES

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CONSUMPTION SPACES

• Challenges:

• Un-integrated spaces can appear to create a level of conflict and competition between permanent fixed retail and informal market vendors in stalls.

• Providing shelter or shade to create a more comfortable pedestrian experience.

• Provision of site amenities, landscaping and street furniture for pedestrians

• Flexibility and adaptability of the space

• Contextual relationships of the space and the site

• Commercialisation / homogenisation and exclusivity of space.

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CONSUMPTION SPACES

• Design requirements

• Vibrancy, safety and comfort

• Provision of furniture and shade

• Accessibility, Diversity, Flexible and adaptive • Shopping units and food courts

• Passive and active recreation.

• Creating a ‘transitionary zone’ between the retail venues and the public realm helps increase the active frontage • Effective pedestrian circulation and stall groupings.

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CIVIC SPACES

• Civic spaces are an essential component of the city’s suite of open spaces and broader public realm.

• They help characterise the city or town’s history, and acts as vital spaces for people to interact with political leaders.

• Distinguishing characteristics:

• A forecourt to civic buildings, often with at least one frontage addressing the main entrance or façade.

• A setting for monuments, statues and other memorials or public art installations.

• Designed for pedestrians and adaptable to cater for civic events and meetings.

• High quality materials & finishes.

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CIVIC SPACES

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CIVIC SPACES

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• Challenges:

• Exclusionary, isolated, impermeable, inaccessible and over managed space

• Design requirements

• Symbolic: reflect the history and character of the community.

• bring the community together and act as a centre.

• Adaptable: Flexible to changing time and various seasonal uses.

• Inclusive: People from all walks of life should be able to relate to and enjoy using the space.

• Accessible: Encourage movement to and/or through the space and pedestrian friendly

• High quality: Design, materials, art work, sculpture and finishes contribute to a consistent and legible urban

environment.

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IN-BETWEEN SPACES

• In-between spaces are the residual elements of the city, which evolve out of an ever-changing urban fabric.

• in-between spaces present flexible environments, which offer potential locations for diverse and unexpected

activities and future developments.

• Distinguishing characteristics:

• In-between spaces can be divided into three categories: • the good, the bad, and the ugly.

• Good in-between spaces are those, which have become successfully integrated with their surroundings physically and/or functionally; minimizing internal conflicts

• Bad in-between spaces are those that have failed to meet their full potential, despite having been incorporated into the planning process.

• Ugly in-between spaces refer to spaces in the urban environment that have been forgotten and fallen into dereliction.

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IN-BETWEEN SPACES

• Challenges:

• Isolated and unutilised

• Dangerous, unfriendly and uncomfortable • Awkward shapes and layouts

• Cluttered, dirty and not maintained

• Design requirements

• Provide a sense of identity in a space can be encouraged and controlled by surrounding buildings, culture, history and urban furniture.

• Natural surveillance and safety

• A diversity and flexibility of land uses, providing varying uses overtime (days, week, seasons, etc.)

• Aesthetic elements such as vegetation, which enhances the time spent in the space

• Include some memorable functions and designed spaces: coffee shop, skate ramp, playground.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD

PUBLIC REALM

Streetscape

• Streets are delightful and offer attractions and rewards: reasons to walk and explore.

• Sidewalks are comfortable, with room to pass and pause, and places to rest.

• Streets and public spaces invite a range of uses; not just necessary ones, but optional and spontaneous ones as well.

• Pedestrian routes are continuous and have options.

• Streets and public spaces are used well and have value; there are no empty or neglected places.

• The street network provides for multiple modes of transportation and promotes walking and biking.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD

PUBLIC REALM

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CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD

PUBLIC REALM

Built Form.

• The built form has an immense impact on the character of the space and its success in a neighbourhood.

• The design of the built form can be categorised into three components, base, middle and top:

1. The Base should contribute to the quality of the public realm, having active frontages, awnings, lighting and high quality materials;

2. The Middle should compliment the architectural features of the base and the top by including windows and a material typology that is visually cohesive with the base and top

3. The Top consists of the roof and cornice treatment for smaller buildings and on larger buildings this also includes the mechanical penthouse.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD

PUBLIC REALM

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CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD

PUBLIC REALM

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