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Key elements of public space

Dr Jennie Sjöholm presents some key elements of public space.
Hello. Now, we’re going to talk about some key elements of public space and what we will discuss is streets, buildings, open spaces such as squares and other places such as green, blue and white spaces. Streets are historically key elements in urban planning and in cities and towns alike. It’s places where people go from one place to another, where they do window shopping. They browse around, take a stroll, or just sit and watch the world go by. Buildings is another key aspect of public spaces. They can be promoting activity and be promoting public life and attracting people to visit and to take a stroll across in the area.
Here you can see an example of a very active building with an active frontage, meaning that the building has windows and entrances facing the street. It’s easy to take a stroll to have a look. It makes you curious, you want to learn more, and you pace down and explore the places when you have this kind of active buildings supporting the public space.
Other buildings might be more self-contained, then relate more to themselves, but they still sit it in open spaces that somehow or another attract public life and attract people and visitors alike, to take a stroll or to have a sit down and have a chat with friends.
Historically, we also have had squares in all cities and towns throughout history. They came about as marketplaces, places for events to happen, and places where people gather and to meet friends and to do different things of activities. They also usually give a possibility to add the green structures to the town, you have, greenery, you have seating areas where you can sit and relax. And many towns and cities also have parks, green areas or gardens that they have developed, as part for leisure activities and places for people to walk around and take it easy and take some leisure time off.
Green areas are also often connected to water areas. It could be fountains, it could be water, it could be different kinds of of waterways that are attractive both for citizens, but also for visitors, to help to calm down the environment, to give different paces in the city and give room for different kinds of activities. In colder climates, you don’t only have water, you also have snow and ice, and sometimes it could be a nuisance, but it could also be an asset, something that could be turned into attractive spaces where you can walk and you can have different kinds of leisure activities taking place.
And now, let’s explore a little bit more about different kinds of key elements that is important when you think about urban spaces.

Dr Jennie Sjöholm presents some key elements of public space.


Think about the different key elements discussed. Why are they important? How do they relate to one another?


  • Streets
  • Buildings
  • Open spaces
  • Green, blue, and white spaces
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