Wei Zhang & Gillian Lawson
Zhang, W. & Lawson, G. (1). Meeting and greeting: Activities in public outdoor spaces outside high-density urban residential communities. URBAN DESIGN International, 14(4), 207–214. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/udi.2009.19
This paper examines the opportunities for social activities in public outdoor spaces associated with high-density residential living. This study surveyed activities in outdoor spaces outside three high-density residential communities in Brisbane. Results indicated that activity patterns in public outdoor space outside residential communities are different to general urban public outdoor space. This broadly, but not fully, supports current theories concerning activities in public space. That is some environmental factors have impacts on the level of social interaction. The relationship between outdoor space and a residential building may have a significant impact on the level of social activities. As a consequence, a new classification of activities in public space is suggested. In improving the level of social contact in public outdoor space outside a residential community, the challenge is how to encourage people to leave their comfortable homes and spend a short time in these public spaces. For residential buildings and public space to be treated as an integrated whole, the outdoor open spaces close to and surrounding these buildings must have a more welcoming design.
This article suggests a a new classification of activities in public space to address (1) the lack of social contact in high-density residential communities, (2) the impact of the relationship between outdoor space and the building on the level of social activities - the larger the distance between the outdoor space of the residential buildings and the adjacent public open space, the lower the level of activities; and (3) the minimal influence of factors such as location, landscape and the size and form of outdoor spaces on social interaction even in facilities that attract activities.
Description of method used in the article
Sampled communities were selected in Brisbane close to the Central Business District (CBD) with good public transport services where the outdoor spaces were integral, visible and open to the public to a greater degree than other communities. Site plans and observation sheets were used to systematically collect data outside each of the selected communities including number of people engaged in social activities, type of social activities and characteristics of the outdoor spaces (location, size, form, relationship to buildings, facilities). The total number of people in observed activities was 3073.
Of practical use