How does urban design make you feel? A survey of more than 5000 people carried out by Center for Active Design provides some answers. Using photos of public spaces respondents gave quantifiable answers about the welcoming feel of the space. Three of the key features were seating, plantings, and lighting. The full results are published under the title The Assembly Civic Engagement Survey. The findings are separated into three key areas: park design and maintenance, neighbourhood order and disorder, and welcoming civic spaces and buildings. The findings show how simple interventions can make a big difference in how people perceive their cities, and that having a place to sit is one of them. You can read the overview in an article by FastCoDesign, Science is Proving Why Urban Design Matters More Than Ever.
For more on what makes a place welcoming for older people (and therefore everyone), see COTA NSW Liveable Communities Age-Friendly Checklist.