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Elements in Developing Public Spaces


Now a days more attention is given on to the human dimension in metropolis planning and the need for quality in the general public spaces. Importance of public spaces is universally accepted by one and all. The question is why is public space more lucrative? The designer is trying to give best model of good public spaces. However we find that many times well designed general public space also doesn't create good public response. In this article an attempt is made to study a place evolved organic development through build up and flourishes of community at large design general population space to know which place is more successful.


  1. What makes a successful general population space?
  2. Have people who make use of it got any role to try out in making it an effective?
  3. What role a artist can play to make an area successful?

Public space described:

If one has to define public space in one liner, it means space for consumer at large. Corresponding to general population space publication, 'general population zrealm includes all the space accessible to and used by people' (p. 111). So we can say it is a space which is made for people which is created by people.

As Loukaitou sideris and Banerjee (1998, p. 175) monitor: 'general public life involves relatively available and universal sociable contexts, in contrast to private life, which is romantic, familiar, shielded, manipulated by the individual, and shared only with family and friends'.

Public space is where one likes to spend additional time not doing anything special and enjoy surroundings. This can be libraries, community centers, pavements, plaza and parks. The measurements of general public space are 'physical and public'. (p. 109) Physical means space- which arise cultural activities. These spaces may be or may not be privately owned or operated. For example clinics, theaters etc are privately owned or operated public space.

'The open public space can be internal or external and it might be quasi external and inner space. ' (p. 111)

William White (1980) in his review in New York gave more emphasis on 'small scale open spaces in towns, squares, piazzas, plazas, pocket parks and neighborhood as the important open public space, ' which are external public places.

Primitive man changed from destination to place browsing for food and shelter. Agriculture helped him to stay at place for security and cover. Family life and sense of ownership were the essential aspect which weighed with him for the establishment of negotiation. Communal living offered rise to cultural interaction. He then stated exchanging goods and services with others in the community for his personal and family need and here started business and business. Bad and the good events in the community brought inmates better which is how, a life beyond your private house originated. Originally no particular space was identified as general population space. Shady place under the tree on the outskirt of any village or habitat dished up the purpose. Common well near to the village, lake area land, riverbank or the market place was the place where people of all strolls of life accumulated and talked about their serious and non serious issues. Still in villages people use to gather at the Chauraha of the community. Chauraha is the area where in fact the community meeting occurs in village. It might be under tree or open space at the junction of neighborhood. Here they have their workout activity, enjoyed the city life. This was the most primitive general public space created by the people with no deliberation or energetic involvement. Market places, squares, plazas and gardens are the extended types of such places by advancement.

All these places have become organically by progression. The man is the most inquisitive and progressive creature on the planet. He has the ability to think, evaluate, acknowledge the good and forego the bad. These mental faculties have managed to get possible for a guy to boost by advancement. The change may well not seem in a short time, in the longer run, the change is substantive. By evolutionary process man has attempted to make his habitat increasingly more best suited. Man has improvised his world by build up, adaptations and additions.

Henry Sheftoe has brought up a question 'can we design such places at the attracting board?'

Critics of formal architecture and planning such as Bernard Rudofsky (Architecture without Architects) and Christopher Alexander (The Timeless Way of Building, A Pattern Terms) claim that 'we are better of 'growing' good places and places, rather than aiming to build them from a blueprint'. Henry Sheftoe has said 'I think we have a lot to learn about how exactly plans and natural conditions grow, develop and adapt to local circumstances and then to mirror this in the development of the built environment'.

What do we signify by the city or town? Is it just a place of land where properties have been built for human being pay out? Or it is a full time income organism of folks keeping yourself there. If one knows the basic different between 'house' and 'home', he will appreciate this important difference. A building may be simply a structure of four wall space and roof top for an outsider but also for a person residing there exists more than that because he is attached to the same sentimentally. This sense of connection to a general public place works at macro level. Therefore, when we talk of evolved general public space, they are the places created be people for themselves to suit their flavor, culture and custom.

'The city is mentioned in barren eviscerated conditions and in technical jargon by urban professional as if it were lifeless, detached being. Plus its a sensory, emotional, lived experience. ' (Landry 2006, p. 2).

When a city or town is to be planned from the scuff, the designer can defiantly give his best with the aid of his design insight. He offers the smartly designed public places for the common use and the same will be utilized by people who will stay there. But this is not the easy case each time. How well people will accept a open public space if it is designed without consuming to bank account their flavor and needs? It may fail through it might be the most ideal design situation.

Sennet (1973) in his critical affirmation said '. . . they may have failed, not for insufficient technical expertise, but because they have lot had the energy to be adaptive during the period of time' p100.

Barnad (1994) in his profile of ' How Building Learn' recommended that good structures is nor necessarily made by design specialists but by the spontaneous and continuous activity of the people'.

Christopher Alexander asks 'why our modern cities frequently lack a sense of natural progress, and continues on to suggest a couple of rules and rules where we can inject that organic character back into our high streets, properties and squares'.

People who stay at a location, have by their long relationship to the area and design of living, developed an affinity towards the same and materials change in that space will never be accepted by them. Spaces are for individuals to match the designed place. Such efforts will arouse condemnation from individuals and will lead to failure of the space to serve the purpose. One can treat your body but not the heart and soul.

What is prosperous general population space?:

Successful public space are the place which is universally accepted by the community, to see and enjoy multiple activity and accessible by all types of member of world from children to older.

According to Francis Tibbalds, successful open public spaces 'are made up of rich, vibrant, blended use environment that does not die at night or at the weekends and is visually rousing and attractive to residents and site visitors as well'.

Successful public places contain overlapping use of different activity and where person can become a member of and participate without any hesitation. It must be considered a safe place. This is actually the place where modern culture prefer to meet daily and revel in the air pollution free atmosphere.

Henry Sheftoe has used term 'convivial' for an effective general population space. He says 'convivial' is defined in dictionaries as 'festive, sociable, jovial and keen on merry- making'; usually referring to people, but it can evenly apply to a predicament. He says 'without such convivial spots, cities, cities and villages would be mere accretions of complexes with no deliberate opportunities for casual encounters and positive connections between friends or strangers'.

How to evaluate open public space?

Despite the fact that the general public space is important for good urban living, question still remains, what places are good or bad. Advancement of general population space is a subjective concern and decisions may vary from person to person. Here we are not concerned with your choice form the designer's viewpoint, but only from the idea of vew of a person common man on the road. Experts in the themes have given different guidelines for assessing the success of a general public space. However 'job for public space' have after many circumstance studies and studies propounded four important variables and they're 'gain access to and linkages, comfort and image, customer and activities, sociability'. All the parameters distributed by others are pretty much protected within the sweep of the aforesaid four issues. Therefore in this article, success of the public spaces is reviewed by applying these four parameters only. Ease of access is most important factor which affects the willingness of the users. People are ready and inclined if the space is close by, in the neighborhood or approachable easily. Comfort and images decides the attraction of people.

According to reserve 'Image of the City' (Lynch, p. 9), 'the quality in a physical thing gives it a higher probability to evoking a strong image in virtually any given observer'.

Good comfort of space also create good image on your brain. Comfort is the abstract perception in the heads of the user and good seats, lighting, ability to move, traffic free environment will be the physical standards. People coming to certain open public space have different reasons to come and therefore multiple activity options on the space make it more convivial. Mixed used activities make maximum public response. If space can be used by only one kind of users, other users might not exactly find place interesting. Space must provide welcoming environment to all or any the residents at on a regular basis. Activities in a nutshell will be the reasons to visit the place, they will interact and communicate with each other. They'll love the business and will have sympathy for others. Tolerance, compassion and love will be the natural fallout of an good general population space.

Why Banaras Ghats and Pershing recreation area?

Case study of ghat in Banaras as improved public space:

Banaras is perhaps the oldest living city on the planet. It is stated that (singh, 1993) 'city has been lived since 4th hundred years. '

According to Symbol Twain (1898) 'Banaras is over the age of history, over the age of tradition, over the age of legend and appears twice as old as all of them jointly. '

It is situated on the bank of holy river Ganga. Regarding to creator P. B. Singh (1993), 'From the ages this river entrance of Ganga is used by folks of India as a location for carrying out rituals and all natural activity from labor and birth to death. ' Visitor from all over the world make a spot to visit Banaras either to perform Hindu rituals or be see to them.

River bank or investment company of Ganga and especially the Ghats has been acclaimed as general public places and their life since forever will make it advanced public place. It really is a classical example of evolved public place.

According to the Merriam Webster's online dictionary (2009) Ghat means 'A wide trip of steps that can be found with an Indian riverbank and that provides access to the especially for bathing. '

Banaras is destined on the east by river Ganga which moves from north to south even though bending continuously makes a lovely crescent like riverfront. The remaining loan company is flanked by city while right loan provider is plain and undeveloped. The proper bank lands are reserved for agriculture and no engineering is permissible.

People of Banaras are tightly related to to river. The river nurtures their life. It is respected mother like. All the people living there regularly go to the ghat for bathing and workout. Before the ghats were muddy platforms to sit near to the river. However by evolution the muddy websites are regenerated as stepped ghats. 'Most of these ghats have been upgraded through the 17th and 18th generations. ' (Singh, 1993). High curves and different water levels in the river during different months, the stepped embankment -ghat could very well be the best kind of river leading.

There are almost 84 ghats across the river in course of 5 kms. However research is limited to Dasashvamedh ghat, Darbhanga ghat, Munshi ghat, Ahilyabai Ghat.

Accessibility and linkage to the edge of the river (Ghat):

Study area Ghats are interconnected with the other person and you can walk from one to other easily. Access to the ghat is tiny bit mysterious and confusing. But in plan, one can observe that all highways in the town straight lead to the ghats. Ghats are connected with two types of street. Dasashvamedh highway is the Commercial Street and main way for tourists. Other roads are Secondary Street and connect interior part of the location to the ghats. Other clear option of the ghats is from the river, which is clear and inviting. Transit items are the primary bazaar street. Ghat is accessible on foot and by the boat from the river.

The overall experience from city to the Dasashvamedh Ghat:

From city to the Ghat is a individual range. Person can't understand the Ghat while moving from the street. River is not obvious from the inner parts of the town. Appearance to the Ghats is quite unusual. Organic and natural development of the building on the advantage of river diverts the user's motion towards Ghat at certain viewpoint and cut the vision from the distance.

The experience from Dasashvamedh Ghat to the town:

This experience is quite opposite to one stated above. In the ghat edge structures are monument scale, which create image of metropolis from the river and image of skyline provides clear interpretation of activity on the border. Through the ghat one can observe whole city skyline due to topography of the city. This scale slowly but surely disappears while moving towheads the town.

Dasashvamedh street:

Dasashvamedh road is a primary interconnection between Kashi Vishvanath temple and the Dasashvamedh Ghat. The whole street has commercial life and filled with mix use figure houses. Surprisingly neighborhood has two way roads with divider at the guts but will not give usage of vehicles. Only two wheelers can pass on this street. The flow of individuals on this way is so high and black head public leads everyone towards Ghat. With the junction of the Ghat street falls in slope.

Secondary Streets:

These streets hook up Munshi Ghat, Darbhanda Ghat and Ahilyabai ghat that are mainly fastened with residential area. These roads are quite small and flanked by row of three to four 4 storied residential residences with small retailers on the ground floor. Neighborhood creates shadow on the highway at all times which gives good comfort constantly of your day to consumer. Cows and puppies also stroll in these thin avenues and pedestrian found comfortable. Dark neighborhood have over looking spots from the homes create secure and safe walk for users. At the junction of Chaustti Bazaar streets widen up and that generate community activity by making use of Chaurah (mix highway) and temple or shrine. Here edges are the mediator who play major role to generate public spots at the certain intervals.

Accessibility to the Ghats is packed and appears clutter to a artist. On the linkage of the ghat and block, small temples and stalls which make it porous and active in nature. Audience on such items make the motion by walking also difficult.

Edge of the Ghat:

Edge of the Darbhanga Ghat and Munshi Ghat are quite dead because of the fort wall but still we can watch activities there. On Dasashvamedh Ghat, shops and temples make border quite porous and live.

Comfort and Image:

Ghats have its own individuality on the lender of rive Ganga. Here we can really appreciate what Kevin Lynch considered the town image (1981, p. 1 ) 'At every instant, there is more than vision can see, more than ear can hear, seated or a view waiting to be explored. '

According to Rishma Parikh (2000, p. 39) 'the characteristics of the 'place'is sensorial as well as physical. Both, physical environment and the manners of its usage are in charge of a graphic. '

Ghats are incredibly unique in nature. The steps on the contour make it full of life and activities. One can notice that amount of people, mostly vacationer are occupied with cameras taking photograph. But those busy in their daily habit activities of bathing, praying, carrying out rituals are unperturbed. The area is filled with people from all strolls of life.

The stone steps provide sitting for individuals as well as provide option of river. Here Ghats face east path so direct light from the sun will be there each day hours but in let afternoon and evening hours, monumental scale border gives shadow on the steps.

People use umbrella to gain shadow each day time on the system of the ghat. At places, bottom of the trees and shrubs is changed into platform to stay.

Here at the Dasashvamedh Ghat we can easily see police station but still safety is the problem as a result of overcrowding. The buildings on the steps create looking over spaces, that assist to lessen issues of security.

City of Banaras is very congested in characteristics. But as you gets into the Ghat, you can feel openness and flexibility of space, which is the key fascination for the people to come at ghat.

Uses and activity:

The Ghats create very strong religious relationship because of devotees having central activity vitality. All ghats are used for ritual activities. Each day people accumulate here for bathing and Puja, in the day people are occupied doing rituals and evening hours see people going to Arati (offering with lighted lighting fixtures) and Puja.

They take bath tub in the river. In the evening time we can see the individuals doing different ritual activity behind the fatality of the folks. Apart from the rituals we can easily see children participating in on the program of the Ghats.

Visitors are roaming around and taking images. Even these activities are also daily on the Ghats. Inside the special situations the Ghats used as Emphi Theatre, where different live concerts are established. On festival days and nights, special Arati is performed. Ghats have multi covering activity each day. On the edge of the Dasashvamedh Ghat we will get small temples which perform religious discourses.

The small stalls around the Ghats sell many items which entice not only the local community but also the traveler equally. Small idols, blossom, scented sticks etc. Even visitor may take a drive in the bat throughout the day and nighttime full moon boat trip is very famous to take pleasure from the river.

This could very well be where where one can see culture and traditions of India. It really is India in small scale.


Sociability of the place is evidently seen. Activities here bring the people collectively. Devotees and priest be seated together and have rituals, which is the trunk bone activity on the ghat. We find folks of all strolls of life from beggars to businessman freely interacting with each other. Affluent give seeks to poor. Bhandaras will be the special occasions on festival times. This is the best exemplory case of community contribution on the ghat. Even you can observe animals like, cow, goat and man/female sitting alongside one another very comfortably. Tourists and even overseas tourist are seen involved with local activities. Barber shop, tea stalls, palmist, horoscope audience, vocalist, musician and serpent are generally seen here and folks enjoy their occurrence and company. Ghats will be the best example of socialization between people of different culture and custom. Space surrounding the Ghats is quite sloppy and dusty but it generally does not dissuade general public to going there.

All big events in the town are kept here. The Ghats not have only religious importance but are the life type of the folks of neighborhood.

Kumar says about folks of Banaras in her article, ' their bowels would simply not move in closed spots, nor would they consider themselves clean from bathing under faucet', which shows social attachment of folks to the space. Take away ghat from Banaras and it might be lifeless. Ghats are the best examples of democratic places.

Neelakshi Joshi has rightly said, ' the ghat is thus the normal bath, the most significant wide open space, meditation middle and the largest pub in town for culture and communal face and has been up to now centuries untold. The ghats of Banaras stand as enthusiasm for combining all men-painters, ascetics, beggars, washer men and kings to the same system. Nature's bounty is not considered the prerogative of the person who can afford the property by the river. It is rather a thing of joy for all those to be enjoyed together'.

Case research of Pershing Square:

Site is situated in Los Angeles. City has storing grid design and this playground is fitted in stop size of the grid. This recreation area was designed 1866 and range of time it was redesigned. The study is based on the last design which is performed in 1994 by Ricardo Legoretta and Laurie Olin. Before in 1866 it was a formal Spanish plaza and then it was reinvented in 1911, 1928, 1950 and 1994. The amount of redesigning of plaza shows change of the city from time to time. It is suggestive of having less community connection. If residents are mounted on a place, they would have jammed to basic form of the area. In 1951 federal government rebuilt the region and suggested underground auto parking with the reason to lessen car congestion of the area.

Accessibility and image to the area:

The Pershing square is an island having road grid on all four sides. The avenues which are adjacent to the square are southern Olive Street, Western 5th and 6th lane and south hill street. Playground is accessible from all highways. Streets act as a divider between edge of adjacent building and recreation area. Buildings across the pavements are like western 6th lane, South Olive and Hill Avenue. Have activates like domino's pizza, restaurants, caf, hotels, office buildings and international rings center. This block faade seems very energetic and porous in aspect. The Western world 5th block faade is little deceased and have parking lot as well. Traffic on this street in day time is quite high. People utilize this road as a pathway to travel from one spot to another. People do not linger here on this space for long time. At the border of the square have admittance for the underground parking. It has different color wall membrane on the border, which distract the vision of people. One can find public transport at the advantage of the park. On all pavements, bus stop to access the park. Pershing square metro station is located close by at five minutes' walk.

Comfort and image to the playground:

At the first look of the park's modern architecture make good impression on the mind. Usage of the shiny color creates visual enjoyment. Even good use of architectural elements is seen inside the park. Recreation area has good comfortable design of seating. Pam tree in the park give better shadow and give proper comfortable area to stand. The steps round the normal water body give comfortable sitting down to an individual.

Usage and activity at the playground:

The area has scientific architectural elements like solar system waterfall, several constellation maps on floor, telescopes. But this element does not generate activates. At lunchtime, people offering in near by places come here to use their lunch. Most of the time the playground is sterile. The development authority conduct good incidents on the park to get people like ice scatting, musical evenings etc. but following the activity park seem dead. Park is used only by homeless people.


The development expert designed it to make a cultural and democratic space. But it has not appear as such. They have miserable didn't serve is purpose.


Case study implies that ghats are effortlessly located on loan provider of River Ganga. The river works north to south and city has organically grown across the river. All of the highways lead us to Ghat and availability is good form proximity point of view. However city is congested. Highways are small and chaos. Ghats remain crowded constantly and movement is uncomfortable. Cleanliness is another negative factor. However from the idea of assorted of activities, it is an effective place in around the place is bubbling with varied activities each day. Socialization is utmost on this space. In the event the success of the ghat is to be evaluated y applying parameters recommended by the Job for Community Space, the rating would be poor. However, clumsy convenience and poor comfort and ease do not deter the folks from socializing upon this space. The reverence, folks of Banaras has shown is tremendous to river Ganga. River Ganga is the life span line of men and women o Banaras and Ghats are the organs without which life at Banaras can't be thought of. Social connection of the people of Banaras to river Ganga is is gigantic and this has made the ghats a great success despite all chances in terms of good design elements. Ghats are present day riverfronts. However, health care has been used by those who developed ghats on river to ensure that the river is not canalized by embankments even as see at other areas. The crescent designed curve of the river is also well managed showing their esteem for the river. Ghats are perhaps the best exemplory case of evolved places.

Second case study of Pershing Square Area gives an opposite proposition. Accessibility to area is good. Comfort level and image of the area is also good. Cosmetic design of the area should normally arouse public response. The development regulators have inserted all good design elements to make the area success. However we find that general population participation at the area is very poor. The recreation area has failed to achieve its purpose. Either people are not interested in the actions it offers or the people have no connection with the area.

The combined research of the two places leads us to conclude that over and above the four guidelines suggested by Project for Open public Space, there is one more factor which is vital to produce a open public space convivial which is -emotional attachment of folks to its place. Existence of the factor together can make an area successful even if no some other counts it may not be convivial. Thoughts emanate from long unbroken cultural and cultural connection. People make places by their accumulations of adaptations and additions. Designer can simply give his inputs on first three matters of accessibility, comfort and activities but he's helpless on the last parameter in as much as he is able to solicit public response. He can't make people use this space. General public sentiments will be the most vital concern which makes the area successful. Without public response, the space will be sterile and miserably neglect to achieve its true target. The authorities, therefore, should concentrate more on improving evolved public places by increasing the accessibility and comfort and ease and by giving diverse combine use activities. Improved public areas can be produced more convivial with little work in this way.


  1. People make places. Unless the area stimulates the overwhelmed response from one and all, the general public space meat for the coffee lover cannot achieve success.
  2. The public spots evolved by accumulation of adaptations and enhancements by users themselves are more convivial and people regularly use such places though they aren't motivating from the designer's viewpoint.
  3. The success of particular open public spots is not in the hands of the creator. His best design model can fail if people do not reply favorably.
  4. Design exercise fails if it does not uphold the sentiments of folks with them.
  5. Evolved general population space can be easily made convenient and lively by the efforts of the creator who keeps in mind the sentiments of the users.
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