Designing public space is seen as something for trained professionals. But the Placemaking Toolkit shows how community groups and residents can do their own place make-over. The Guide is for community-driven, low-cost public space transformation. With the support of local government anyone can change a neglected space in their neighbourhood into a clean and safe play area or park.
This Guide is especially relevant for developing countries and remote communities in any country. The Guide is from the Public Space Network and includes case studies at the end. The introduction includes criteria for a good public space.
What makes a good public space?
1. Accessibility: Public spaces shall be well-connected to other places frequently used by people. They should be easy to get to, easy to enter, easy to move around, free and/or affordable for the vast majority.
2. Comfort: The place shall be kept clean and contain elements enhancing the comfort for its users. These can be seating facilities and dustbins painted in colours, and greenery (trees, loan, flowers) providing shade.
3. Safety: The space shall be well visible without any obstruction that could provide a hiding space for criminal activities. The space should be free of any illegal activities and the presence of motorized traffic shall be limited to avoid injuries.
4. Active use: Spaces become places when people use them. In an always empty space, people may not feel safe or comfortable. To encourage its social function, the place shall offer a wide variety of activities that can interest various types of users. The activities may include sport and leisure activities, such as space for boardgames and team sports, playground for children as well as a regular organization of community events – such as sports tournaments, concerts, fairs etc.
5. Walkability: Good public spaces provide opportunities for people to walk safely with minimal interruption from vehicles and other motorized transport.
There’s another toolbox from Europe with extended resources from Placemaking Europe. It’s an open source collection of placemaking guides and manuals.