Shared public outdoor spaces bring people together and help establish a sense of community. In fact, they are increasingly becoming one of the most sought after elements in modern communities. However, it takes adequate planning to design one that is truly useful, comfortable, attractive, and safe.

Below are some ways you can develop great outdoor spaces that improve the economic, environmental, and social welfare of your community.

Engage the people.
One of the most common mistakes in planning public spaces is not giving community members a chance to be involved. Aside from engaging locals, also invite institutions and key community stakeholders to become your partners in creating a space. This will create a sense of ownership and help ensure the future success and patronage of the space.

Reflect the local culture.
In order to achieve a sense of community, the space must reflect the local culture or history of the neighbourhood. Consult those who have a historical perspective of the area so you can develop a space that reflects the history of the local area while being most meaningful to the modern day community.

Develop multi-use spaces.
It’s important to consider the needs of everyone in the community. Multi-use destinations provide greater variety and will attract a wider range of visitors. Study the demographics of the area. For instance, a community with a high population of children will appreciate a playground. Sports buffs, on the other hand, will love bike trails, basketball courts, and other areas for physical activities.

Make it visually interesting.
Designers and landscape architects can transform an area into an inviting and inspiring space that everyone would love to go to. They can advise on what types of decor, plants and outdoor furniture to use to achieve both style and functionality.

Prioritise safety and security.
Public safety is a priority in all community spaces. People will only be encouraged to visit and spend time if they feel a sense of security. Some security measures you can take include installing adequate lighting fixtures and CCTVs.

Promote community involvement through social activities.
Community spaces are all about interaction. Interactive areas such as barbeque and picnic areas, and dog parks are great uses of space that encourage people to gather. Similarly, an area for activities such as fairs, markets, festivals, exhibits, and other recreational and sporting events also provide community members with opportunities to become involved.

Keep it clean and well-maintained.
Maintaining public health is also a primary concern. Establish proper cleaning and maintenance routines to ensure that the area is always spic and span. Involve the community as well by making it easy for them to dispose rubbish in conveniently located recycling or general bins.

Great public spaces can be accomplished in many ways. With proper planning, your outdoor space will offer the features and facilities that best reflect the needs of the community and will continue to become a popular and well-visited space.

Unisite has been partnering with various city councils in Australia in creating great community spaces that energise, rejuvenate, and inspire. View some of our projects in our Project Gallery.



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