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  • January 13, 2011

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What Makes a Public Space Unsuccessful?

According to the ‘Project for Public Spaces’ website, the most crucial elements to consider when diagnosing unsuccessful spaces are: sociability, uses and activities, comfort and image, and access and linkages. To evaluate a space near you, consider the following questions and elements…

Sociability: Would you meet friends here? Do others do so? Are people in groups? Do they talk, or recognize one another? Are they smiling or making eye contact? Do ages and ethnicities reflect the larger community? Do people show this place off to relatives?

Uses and Activities: Typical problems include: lack of users for all or part of the day – congestion or crowding because of size or design – lack of places to sit – a lack of gathering points – activities isolated from each other

Comfort and Image: Typical problems include: few or no places to sit – no one in charge – the space is unattractive or feels unsafe – litter and other signs of poor maintenance – “undesirables” or vehicles dominate the space – evidence of security problems (broken windows, graffiti, vandalism, etc.)

Access and Linkages: Typical problems include: poorly located entrances – space is visually inaccessible – paths do not reflect the desired circulation routes – congested or fast-moving traffic impedes pedestrians – pedestrians forced to walk in street or unpaved areas – blank walls – vacant or underutilized buildings nearby – lack of human scale – insufficient parking

PlayPhilly is a grassroots effort to revitalize unsuccessful urban spaces in city center Philadelphia through the use of play.  Accomplishing this could happen in various forms: installing public art, hosting urban interventions, conducting social experiments or organizing spontaneous happenings that entertain people and enrich public spaces. According to the Philadelphia Office of Arts and Culture in the Creative Economy (OACCE), all methods are acceptable and encouraged during the first week of Spring 2011.

All interventions will be promoted and documented by PlayPhilly’s committee through this website, a facebook page, press releases and extensive video and photography.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Recess is in session. It’s time to play Philly!

Project for Public Spaces

4 Comments Post a comment

  1. January 20, 2011 at 9:12 am / Reply

    How can we slow people down and create vision so that they see more than the sidewalks and walls of building?

  2. March 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm / Reply

    Mike,

    By creating a city worth looking up for. The Philly Mural Arts program has done an incredible job in spreading murals across cracked neighborhood walls. When people can look around their city in bright colors and positive, loving family-esque imagery, it makes them more open to being outside.

    Paint more public spaces, mural in and outside public schools, promote weird social community events to groups of all backgrounds. That’s what makes public spaces fun!

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Site #001: 2 Penn Plaza

According to the ‘Project for Public Spaces’ website, the most crucial elements to consider when diagnosing unsuccessful spaces are: sociability, uses and activities, comfort and image, and access and linkages. To evaluate a space near you, consider the following questions and elements…

Sociability: Would you meet friends here? Do others do so? Are people in groups? Do they talk, or recognize one another? Are they smiling or making eye contact? Do ages and ethnicities reflect the larger community? Do people show this place off to relatives?

Uses and Activities: Typical problems include: lack of users for all or part of the day – congestion or crowding because of size or design – lack of places to sit – a lack of gathering points – activities isolated from each other

Comfort and Image: Typical problems include: few or no places to sit – no one in charge – the space is unattractive or feels unsafe – litter and other signs of poor maintenance – “undesirables” or vehicles dominate the space – evidence of security problems (broken windows, graffiti, vandalism, etc.)

Access and Linkages: Typical problems include: poorly located entrances – space is visually inaccessible – paths do not reflect the desired circulation routes – congested or fast-moving traffic impedes pedestrians – pedestrians forced to walk in street or unpaved areas – blank walls – vacant or underutilized buildings nearby – lack of human scale – insufficient parking

PlayPhilly is a grassroots effort to revitalize unsuccessful urban spaces in city center Philadelphia through the use of play.  Accomplishing this could happen in various forms: installing public art, hosting urban interventions, conducting social experiments or organizing spontaneous happenings that entertain people and enrich public spaces. According to the Philadelphia Office of Arts and Culture in the Creative Economy (OACCE), all methods are acceptable and encouraged during the first week of Spring 2011.

All interventions will be promoted and documented by PlayPhilly’s committee through this website, a facebook page, press releases and extensive video and photography.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Recess is in session. It’s time to play Philly!

Project for Public Spaces