Towards an Evidence-based Model for Assessing Urban Squares as Social Places

By Kate Bishop and Nancy Marshall.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 26, 2014 $US5.00

The natures of the problems in cities are increasingly interdisciplinary, as are the solutions and the research needed to address them. Understanding the intersection between modern urban life and its implications for the built form requires research on many aspects of contemporary human experience in cities. Urban squares are a central component of the urban fabric. They provide respite from the intensity of the built form, public spaces for recreation, entertainment and trade. However, the efficacy of their design and the inherent experience available to the public is seldom evaluated. The aim of this study was to begin developing a collection of cross-disciplinary assessment tools that could be used to evaluate urban squares and their social value. In 2012, a pilot study was completed exploring the major influences on the social success of Oxford Square, Sydney, Australia. A mixed methods approach was used which included three methods: Behaviour Mapping, Physical Mapping, and a Soundscape Analysis assessment. The instruments and methods used revealed that the physical and sensory characteristics of the Square substantially influence the social use of the Square.

Keywords: Urban Squares, Social Places, Place-Making

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 9, Issue 1, December 2014, pp.33-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 26, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 423.812KB)).

Dr. Kate Bishop

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Nancy Marshall

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia