The places where people naturally collide with each other and connect. Spaces that encourage collisions, whether it’s a park or a coffee shop or a pub, can lead to people sharing of ideas across disciplines, areas of interest and industries. In turn, these connections, even if they aren’t evident at first, can spark partnerships that lead to additional innovation and entrepreneurship.
An urban park might be an example of this – areas of trees and grass carved out in the midst of an asphalt landscape. Green spaces might make room for joggers or encourage public gatherings outside. According to the Project for Public Spaces, which is working with Oklahoma City on the innovation district, the local community has to determine the design for green spaces according to its culture and interests.
According to placemakingchicago.com, a place’s intangibles are its so-called “qualitative aspects”: “when people describe a place they especially enjoy, words like “safe,” “fun,” “charming,” and “welcoming… Intangible qualities can also be measured quantitatively in a variety of ways… When combined, positive intangible qualities lead to tangible success in public spaces.”
Linkages can be comprised of both physical connections from one place to another, as well as visual connections. A place with good “linkage” is one that is easily accessible and physically / visually connected to its surroundings. From the placemakingchicago.com website, “a successful public space is visible, easy to get to and around. Physical elements can affect access (a continuous row of shops along a street is more interesting and generally safer to walk by than a blank wall or empty lot), as can perceptions (the ability to see a public space from a distance). Accessible public places have a high turnover in parking and, ideally, convenient public transit.”
Placemaking is defined as a multifaceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Community-based participation is at its center, and it capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration and potential to create quality public spaces. It began using that idea that we should be designing cities for people and not just cars or shopping centers. Read more about placemaking in general on the blog and about other places that have successfully implemented ideas in gathering spaces, under “Examples” on this website.
The level of social interaction that can occur in an area - how much or how often people are able to meet and see friends, neighbors and even strangers that they feel comfortable interacting with. High levels of sociability are associated with a strong sense of community and interconnectedness among area denizens.
Triangulation can be described as intentionally placing public objects such that they work together to stimulate interaction among people. From PPS's website: "For example, if a bench, a wastebasket and a telephone are placed with no connection to each other, each may receive a very limited use, but when they are arranged together along with other amenities such as a coffee cart, they will naturally bring people together (or triangulate!)."