Turkish villagers have a secret language. They use a sophisticated system of whistling known as “bird language.” The high-pitched whistles help villagers communicate across long and mountainous distances.
As folks of great Earth, Wind and Fire told us, it is All About Love, and Fred Kent from the Projects for Public Spaces cannot agree more!
Places exude a kind of magnetism, a draw that brings people closer together—lovers and strangers, alike. Whether sharing a kiss, or simply sharing a bench, there are endless examples of closeness and affection all brought about by great public spaces.
This affection isn’t just icing on the cake; it’s a basic human need. “It’s a big idea, affection,” observes PPS founder Fred Kent, “because it’s everywhere. Every community, every culture, every human being has a need for affection, for engaging with people, for connecting with people.” As our recent Healthy Places report reveals, social support and interaction provides important benefits to mental wellbeing and feelings of safety. Meanwhile, social isolation contributes to depression, stress, and can also undermine a community’s resilience in the face of disaster.
Check this great article on what makes public spaces places for people!
Or you can just listen to the folks below.
The trees and the birds
And if there ain’t no beauty
You gotta make some beauty
Listen to me, y’all
A Guardian investigation revealed the expansion of pseudo-public spaces in London recently.
Pseudo-public spaces – large squares, parks and thoroughfares that appear to be public but are actually owned and controlled by developers and their private backers – are on the rise in London and many other British cities, as local authorities argue they cannot afford to create or maintain such spaces themselves.
Although they are seemingly accessible to members of the public and have the look and feel of public land, these sites – also known as privately owned public spaces or “Pops” – are not subject to ordinary local authority bylaws but rather governed by restrictions drawn up the landowner and usually enforced by private security companies. (Guardian)
The map demonstrates the locations and distribution of these spaces in London. It lists 46 known pseudo-public spaces in the city. The expansion of these areas is quite widespread within the city boundaries.
This is a critical issue regarding the role of public spaces in socialisation as well as citizen’s right to access to open spaces. These privately-owned spaces are accessed by the discretion of the landowners as well as controlled by the private security staff in some cases, which means that the use of the space and the behaviours within these spaces are also under control by some rules other than laws or common legislations.
It gets interesting when 12 other cities, including Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow, rejected revealing the information about the pseudo-public spaces located ion these cities. This poses a question of the level of expansion of these spaces. It also poses another, and even more critical question regarding the production and perception of public space:
Is pseudo-public space becoming a mainstream way of public space provision in the UK?
How do we experience cities, streets, squares?
How they sound? How they smell?
Good City Life creates experience-based maps for the cities, well at least for London, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Seattle, … Good City Life team wants to challenge “the corporate rhetoric of the smart cities movement”:
To change the corporate rethoric of the smart cities movement, there is the need to study how people psychologically perceive the urban environment, and to capture that in a quantitative fashion. (Good City Life)
There are two maps available online: Chatty Maps and Smelly Maps
Chatty Maps shows how a street sounds. Covent Garden (London) sounds like human or Kingsway (London) sounds like traffic. It is quite a database for soundscape of a city!
Smelly Maps is the second amazing map the Good City Life team created. Check St Nicolas Avenue (New York) out. It smells 98% food 🙂 Wow, hell of an experience 🙂 Ouch, the Tower Bridge (London) smells like emissions, not so good 🙂
Thank you the Good City Life team for creating such amazing maps for us 😉
Vous etes, dans votre vie quotidienne, au centre du conflit.
This is a slogan chanted during the protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas in 2001 in Quebec, Canada. We are in our daily life in the centre of the conflict.
Reineke Otten, a designer working in visual sociology, documents daily life all around the world for some time.
Reineke practices ‘streetology’, an intuitive method of classifying and visually analyzing patterns of urban daily life. To understand the delicate relationships among places, she collects images of mundane but unique details that are so often overlooked, lost, or forgotten in the development of cities. (urbandailylife.com)
Although I am quite critical about this classification efforts, Reineke’s work is fascinating in terms of documenting the daily life in different context and situations. It provides a visual database for an urban researcher and for whom interested in the daily life of people. This is an ever expanding database, can be found online urbandailylife.com.
(Image Credit: Reineke Otten)