While it may seem obvious, it’s worth reminding ourselves that when it comes to creating developments, buildings or public spaces, we must place people at the centre of our designs.
Back in 1999, the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) released How To Turn A Place Around, a book that “brought together PPS’s thirty years of community-driven observation and experimentation and turned it into a series of principles and practical tools for anyone to remake their public spaces.”
In this guide, PPS identifies 11 crucial elements for “creating great community spaces”, which are well worth revisiting. Here’s a brief look at five of these key factors.
The Community is the Expert
In this point, PPS gives a valuable reminder to consider the community in the very early stages and to consult key members who may be able to provide insights that can inform the design of the development.
Create a Place, Not a Design
To create a “vital place”, PPS advises including physical elements (they give seating and landscaping as examples) that will make the space inviting and usable, and recommends that an effective relationship be developed between “the surrounding retail and the activities going on in the public spaces.”
You Can See a Lot Just By Observing
This point can be summed up quite neatly in the words of Richard Branson: “Listen. Take the best. Leave the rest.” (Although in this case, it’s a good idea to look and listen.) So observe how people interact with and use other developments and public spaces, take note of the things that work – and the things that don’t – and use these insights to improve your developments and spaces.
Have a Vision
Here, PPS stresses that the vision for a space or development should be informed by the community in which it’s located. They also state that “essential to a vision for any public space is an idea of what kinds of activities might be happening in the space, a view that the space should be comfortable and have a good image, and that it should be an important place where people want to be.”
You Are Never Finished
It’s a good idea for developers to have the mindset that projects like public spaces are never really complete. Over time, the ‘identity’ of a public space and the way it is used may change – and as PPS explains, “Being open to the need for change and having the management flexibility to enact that change is what builds great public spaces and great cities and towns.”
At the Amdec Group, we’ve long seen the value in creating developments and public spaces that work effectively for the people who live and work in them – and this can clearly be seen at Melrose Arch, which provides an accessible, walkable neighbourhood with excellent security and plenty of green public spaces.
If you’d like to know more about investment opportunities at Melrose Arch or any of the Amdec Group’s other developments, please contact Tersia Taljaard on 087 897 0222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.