Home Forums Parametric Urban Design & Analysis Functions of public spaces – Jan Gehl's three types of outdoor activities

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    • #12171
      Anna Konczak

      To answer this question I’d like to refer to what Jan Gehl says about the topic in his book Life between buildings. Gehl lists three types of outdoor activities.

      1. Necessary activities. These activities come from people’s use of space by walking. That can be walking to work or school, getting the mail or walking a dog. These activities occur in every type of weather and yearlong as participants have no choice but to engage in them.
      2. Optional activities. They occur when there is a desire to participate and a time and a favourable place. That can be sitting outside or playing catch. Optional activities are unlikely to occur in poor weather. The frequency of optional activities is also dependent on environment. In dense urban settings of low quality optional activities exist at a minimum level. However, in a good physical environment, optional activities occur with high frequency.
      3. Social activities. Such activities emerge when people congregate in a place and socialize. Examples are children playing, friends coming together to converse, and passersby briefly acknowledging each other. These activities are often spontaneous in nature and can occur in a wide variety of settings. Similarly to optional activities, social activities are conditioned by the physical setting of the space.

      To sum up, public spaces provide humans with the possibiliy of interaction. This socialization can take various forms.

    • #12172
      Anna Konczak

      To illustrate the answer lets have a photo of a meeting by chance 🙂

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