An academic take on creating inviting, communal public spaces:
In Operative Landscapes: Building Communities Through Public Space, Alissa North, Assistant Professor in the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Toronto, argues that the best contemporary landscape designs are concerned with more than just aesthetics. Instead of striving for fixed, static designs, the goals of these landscapes are “operational”: they aim to guide “the transformation of urban environments over time.” By moving away from fixed form, landscapes can be open-ended and non-prescriptive, changing in response to — but also influencing — the development of their communities.
Great story from TreeHugger about self-proclaimed “Urban Hacktivist” Florian Riviere and some of the various “hacks” he’s done:
When it comes to redefining public space and objects, Florian Rivière is a master. The self-described “urban hacktivist” transforms parking spots into hockey rinks, sidewalk barriers into tables, and uncomfortable benches into lounge chairs for the homeless.
I absolutely agree with TreeHugger when they say:
I love it when people re-imagine how urban space is used; it’s a fantastic way to make cities more liveable, practical and fun, without needing major construction projects or the hassle of red tape.
Living in the Pacific Northwest I can definitely appreciate the idea of adding more color to one’s life! Interestingly, it tends to be warmer climates that have the more colorful buildings, although Denmark and Finland has some of the most colorful interiors (and now exteriors) I’ve seen. Color has an amazing effect on human mental health and mood. People often talk about getting back into nature to see all the colors. Now, the colors can come to you (unless you live in a community with a rule against bright colors).
Urban life doesn’t have to be bleak and gray — in fact, many of the world’s cities pride themselves upon the bright palettes used to liven up their architecture. From the garish blue-walled buildings of Jodhpur, India, to the gentler pastels of Charleston, S.C., these cities are far from monotonous.