The whole HERE+NOW research team had a really productive design workshop this morning as part of a series of Public Life Street Assessment projects we are currently working on for client the City of Edinburgh Council. We have been looking at a total of 5 different local town centres across Edinburgh (Leith Walk, Bruntsfield/Morningside, Portobello, Stockbridge and Nicolson/Clerk St) to research and analyse these key public realm spaces and their potential for increased public life.
Following the 'on-the-street' research and data collection using direct observational methodologies inspired by Jan Gehl (amongst many others), the team analyse this qualitative and quantitative data in detail, learning from a mix of pedestrian counts, behavioural mapping, street auditing, test walks and user interviews with locals to help identify the existing movement and place function of the town centre. We then go on to use this analysis to help start to form suggested design responses and ideas for actions aimed at helping to improve public life in the public realm - from shorter term 'quick wins', through to pilot studies and longer term design responses - all grounded in solid and in-depth research of the public realm and how its users experience the street environment.
It's a brilliant process to go through - mixing quantitative and qualitative research methodologies based on user experience, followed up with rigorous data analysis and then the transformation of this research into a plan for action and suggested solutions using our design team comprised of landscape architects, urban designers and planners. We are really passionate about this work and thrilled to be involved in projects such as this which combine research with engagement and design to start to create potential solutions to help improve both public life and the quality of the pedestrian environment in these town centre street spaces. Find out more here.