Amir Hossein Askari, Ibrahim Mohd @ Ahmad & Soha Soltani
Askari, A. H. , @ Ahmad, I. M. & Soltani, S. (1). Engagement in public open spaces across age groups: The case of Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur city, Malaysia. URBAN DESIGN International, 20(2), 93–106. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/udi.2014.5
People's engagement with public open spaces is complex and affected by different factors. The importance of people's needs differs according to their age groups. In this respect, what this article aims to unveil is the priority of needs in public open spaces across age groups. A self-administered questionnaire survey collected the opinions of 400 people aged 13 years and above using the time-interval sampling method. The results revealed that the strongest inverse relationship existed between age and social needs. This illustrated that old people are less likely to carry out social interaction with other groups or to explore public open spaces compared to younger people. In turn, old people are more concerned about their physical and environmental needs. Exploring the dichotomies between the needs of old and young people highlights the intergenerational conflicts that challenge urban designers and decision makers to ameliorate the design and management of future public open spaces.
The results indicate that the need of social interaction in public open spaces varies based on age groups. More specifically, age has the strongest relationship with the facility-based opportunities (r =-0.202) such as sitting, eating, buying, selling things, playing sports, going on a picnic, etc., age is correlated to social opportunities (r =-0.106) such as social interaction, cultural expression, and religious practices, and age is correlated to health-promoting opportunities (r =-0.143) such as rest, relaxation, mental health and well-being. This study of the needs of people in public open space explicates that with the increase of importance of the social needs, the physical and environmental needs seem less significant.
Description of method used in the article
A self-administered questionnaire survey collected the opinions of 400 people aged 13 years and above using the time-interval sampling method.
Of practical use