When both these aspects are done well, creating ‘liveable cities’ in this way, can lead to benefits for both people and environment. For example people’s health and well-being can be improved as a result of walkable, cycleable neighbourhoods that encourage physical exercise, green and pleasant places can help improve well-being and reduce stress, and places to meet and socialise with neighbours or bumping into others in the street. Liveable cities can also lead to environmental benefits, in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services - creating habitats, stormwater management, increased biodiversity and climate change resilience via an increase in green space within the urban fabric as part of this ‘good place design’.
What is ‘good’ place design?
As landscape architects and urban designers, I'll focus on 'good' place design in terms of public spaces and ‘outdoor’ urban environments.
These ‘spaces between’ are crucial places in making a liveable city. Every time you leave your front door these are the places you walk through to get to a destination - whether that be to go to work, the park on the weekend, to go to the shops or visit a friend. These public spaces often form our first impressions of cities, are often where you bump into friends or neighbours, and set the scene for everyday life. If these are designed well, they enable a lot of other social activities to happen that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. By making these outdoor urban environments ‘liveable’, i.e. with accessible to all, walkable, bikeable, and a vibrant place that is interesting to meet others, we can take huge steps towards creating a liveable city.
As HERE+NOW, we have developed 12 design principles for these types of public spaces in the built environment - whether they be streets, parks or urban squares. These 12 design principles are what we would consider best practice for ‘good’ place design. They are based on us summarising and synthesising the contemporary academic literature to date, boiling down the common agreed qualities to 12 core principles that the research agrees help create pleasant, attractive, and healthy public spaces.