The Explanation.

Posted: April 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

Did you get it?

Last week I told you about Daniel losing his job.  Of course he was bummed.  Instead of going home, he went to the park just a couple of blocks from his office to think about what had just happened.  Fortunately for him, he was the only one in the park.

Did you pick up on the clues that it was a new park?  There were teak benches, landscaping, a water feature, and even a sculpture garden.  All the right stuff.  And yet, on a beautiful spring afternoon, Daniel was the only one there.

Why would that be?

Then Daniel decides a little food might be a good idea.  That’s not an option at the new park.  So he leaves.

He makes his way to the Old Town district.  It’s far from perfect.  The sidewalks are narrow and the pavement is in bad shape.  There are not enough benches. But there are restaurants, antique dealers and a coffee shop.  And most importantly, there are people.

Why would that be?

The success of a public space is dependent upon much more than having made good design decisions.  Sure, good design can enhance the user’s experience and bad design can cause people to stay away.  But there’s a wide gulf between the two extremes that the public will tolerate if it’s an enjoyable place to go.

What makes it enjoyable?

Other people.

Let’s recap.  A beautifully designed park with no people will not attract people.

A less than perfect park with people will attract people.

Public spaces need people.

So what determines if a public space will be populated?

Check back next week.

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