Urban design frameworks, user activities and public tendencies in Brisbane's urban squares

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Springer Nature
This research seeks to demonstrate the ways in which urban design frameworks stimulate and encourage social activities in urban public squares. We observed two public squares in Brisbane using a framework of design factors identified from existing literature to examine how such a framework correlates with user activities and engagement. The observation identifies patterns of public behaviour suggesting clear links between the design factors and the public’s engagement with them. The results show that activated areas of social gathering draw people in, and the busier a space is, both the frequency and the duration of people lingering in the space increase. The study suggests that simply providing respite from the urban environment (and/or weather conditions) does not adequately encourage social interaction and that people-friendly design factors can instigate social activities. One of the primary conclusions of this study is that members of the public in Brisbane are both actively and passively social and often seek out locations where people-watching and being around other members of the public are facilitated and encouraged. The research provides the basis for further debates on what public space in Brisbane should cater for and how it could better contribute to its urban context.
Urban design framework, Urban square, Public space, Public activities, King George Square, Queens Park
Ridings, J., & Chitrakar, R. M. (2021). Urban design frameworks, user activities and public tendencies in Brisbane’s urban squares. Urban Design International, 26(3), 272–288.