Saturday, April 7, 2018

There's only love and fear

Everything we do is motivated by one or the other. 


All aberrant behaviour is therefore, ultimately, the result of fear. It might be a deep-seated, not-so-obvious fear, but it's there. You just have to dig a bit deeper to find it.

What's this got to do with Public Open Space?

Everything.

Especially the design of it.

What's wrong with most of our POS in Perth?

Too hot.

Whether it's streets or parks or town squares, they're generally too hot. Because they lack big trees. They often have trees, yes, but they're usually too small and ineffective. Go have a look on a hot day and see if I'm wrong.

Why is so much of our POS planted with small trees?

Fear.

The Parks Department guys are afraid to plant big trees because they're afraid of repercussions down the track.

The landscape architects are afraid to stipulate big trees for fear of being criticised by the Parks Department guys and not being used again.

But I've talked about all this before. Nothing new here.

Except there is. Because it's still happening. If anything, it's getting worse.

Putting aside our fear for a moment, here's a crash course in how to design POS that people actually want to use. It's actually really simple because it just involves asking one question:

"What do I want to EXPERIENCE in this space?"

That's it. Job done. Because you will now start thinking about how you experience. And that of course is through your senses. There's no other way. Not that I know about anyway.

So, now we start thinking about what each of our five senses would like to experience in this piece of POS.

Q. What do we want to FEEL?
A. Not hot, nor cold. Just nice. That gives us the clues about how much shade v sunshine we will need.

Q. What do we want to SEE?
A. Not too much harsh sunlight nor too much dank shade. Again, this informs our tree choices.
A. Not roads and buildings and ugly stuff. This tells us where to screen.

Q. What do we want to SMELL?

Q. What do we want to HEAR?

You get the idea. Run this process each time you have to make a decision about any aspect of POS design and you will soon be making better parks and streets and squares for the people you serve. You just gotta be brave and commit to the process and ignore the howls of the fearful. Love your job. It's so important. You are making a huge contribution to the wellbeing of generations to come. Or not. It's up to you. Do you love? Or do you fear?

Go on, I dare you.

No comments:

Post a Comment