the facts and importance of public space

“Successful public spaces have been essential parts of our cities and communities for centuries. It is there where we hold celebrations, where social interactions take place, where we find and gather with our friends, where we exchange ideas, where we express ourselves, where we rest and observe, and where we find the public institutions of cities. Carrying out those activities in a public space is beneficial to the quality of life in a city that can make many of us anonymous. Traditionally, public space has combined many of the aforementioned elements in such a way that it becomes a magnet for city dwellers.”

(Ortiz, 2012)

“the design of the public space is intended to encourage people to be more sociable again. People are more sociable however there are less environments designed specifically for people to be social in”

(Smith, 2015)


Does social media create isolation or unity?

There isn’t a straight answer that I have found to answer this question. It is a very subjective topic and down to personal opinion. From a journal by Metaxia Markaki (urban design) and Spyridon Ampanavos (tech, Athens). I have found both pros and cons of using technology within the urban realm.

“social media ultimately is what you bring to it, rather than something that has a definite use value”

Pros and Cons of technology:


  • it provides a platform for people to connect instantly and socialise, keep in contact with one another.
  • American students have managed to link digital activities with face to face interactions.
  • Being connected can provide a stronger sense of community in ones local area…these may be support groups, accessibility.


  • Deprivation of human interaction
  • Social networks only provide the illusion of companionship- without the given experience of quality interactions
  • Creates an artificial perspective of others as well as the environment they may find themselves in.
  • In considering Facebook (the most common use of phones in these spaces)is passive by many. This correlates to a marginal increase in depression.
  • We ignore people we are with for the online substitute.

“feelings of loneliness are exacerbated by being online (connected) too much with people more willing to experience a sense of isolation if they feel that others around them are enjoying themselves more”

High emotional intelligence…

I found this really interesting from an article I read-

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

Taking regular time off the grid is a sign of a high EQ because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even–gulp!–turning off your phone gives your body and mind a break. Studies have shown that something as simple as an e-mail break can lower stress levels. Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an e-mail that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment.

Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

Juhanni Pallasmaa…The eyes of the skin.


Don’t think I’ve laughed at any book I’ve read for this course so far…until now.

“Many years ago when visiting the DL James Residence in Carmel, California, designed by Charles and Henry Greene, I felt compelled to kneel and touch the delicately shining white marble threshold of the front door with my tongue”

-Juhani Pallasmaa

I think now in the modernist movement of architecture buildings wouldn’t entice the same urge, to touch it with your tongue. I totally agree that buildings have been designed more recently for the pleasure of our eyes, straight forward and easy to understand, large glass facades and metal railings. My tongue would freeze just looking at these structures.

Making Routes

Final Bridge Journey

Taking two separate routes to cross over Charing Cross I wanted to compare and contrast the two environments through creating a sound scape for each. The first route, I crossed the bridge and the second I crossed the underpass (directly below the bridge).
Listening back to the recordings there is a vivid difference in the two journeys not only in the types of sound but in the experience felt through these sounds.

Reclaiming human contact…What?

I always worry about the strength of technology and that we’ve become numb to believe that it is good for us, it’s our first port of call and recently even more so than our actual physical friends. Something I’ve noticed over the last 18 months is that people are shocked when you call them… ”’re calling me?” mixed with “Aw it’s nice to actually talk on the phone…” This is something I come back to every so often as I find it fascinating that people really are becoming isolated due to technology. Connected but alone. Over the coming months I’ll be exploring this more as I believe we should be able to hold a conversation. I feel that exploring this topic is a real risk as technology has already taken its place in our life but I’m sure that as ‘humans’ we’d be open to the chance of being us again. This sounds weird and sounds much more interesting in person.

A little Nara(tive)

Nara (tive)

Nara (tive)

A tranquil moment, a place frozen in time where nature has been left alone for some time. Dry pebbles surround my feet and slowly crumble disturbing the sleeping pond as I step back. A deer has taken himself from his friends as he stands guarding his Ishidoro that remains unlit. As if protecting the stone feature, he is also protected by the enchanted land that surrounds him.

Looking up, a red temple hides behind the layers of deciduous forest that spreads into the far distance. Up close it changed. Wooden blocks and beams signify the structures strong presence and present the hard craftsmanship from the past. An elegance had been created as the temple stood in contrast with its grand forest all around.

Upon reaching the street, crowds walked upward towards me and the sacred land. Following the grey cobbled path flat white walls appeared on either side of me, reconstructed wood. black beams and small windows and cables that were left in sight as I peeked down one narrow street I passed.

A town had been built here. I was in it. And the aesthetic of a small Japanese village stood out stronger than ever. A reserved respected land.

Scoping…Collective areas of Interest

At this initial stage of the project we wanted to find out each others interests and come up with a potential topic we could explore further. Our group being from similar design backgrounds from product and interior design to architecture and the urban design, we quickly discovered common areas of interest. First of we discussed issues facing Scotland as the project runs alongside the Scottish Government. To generalize, we found that poverty is a large issue within Scotland affecting livelihoods, education, healthcare and public life…as well as other areas. Through sharing our thoughts on each area we decided to focus deeper on gentrification and isolation- common to be outwith the control of existing communities.

Of course these are all broad areas in themselves and so through discussion, we zoomed in on gentrification as we believe this corrupts existing communities although it can be passed of as the ‘common good’, and isolation of communities. This lead us into creating our initial research objectives:

Find political issues surrounding the isolation and gentrification phenomena of the built environment.

…and our aim:

To identify people with a common interest/ issues and facilitate them with a sustainable platform to create a community.

Focusing on Scotland, we divided our research into Scotland overall and Glasgow as our areas to focus on:

-Scotland (urban and rural areas/ isolation and gentrification)

-Glasgow (local areas/ isolation and gentrification)

We split these focuses within the group and mapped out areas affected by isolation and gentrification. We found that some areas affected by gentrification were also isolated areas.

Areas affected by gentrification, greenification and isolated areas

Areas affected by gentrification, greenification and isolated areas

Areas in Glasgow affected by gentrification and isolated areas

Areas in Glasgow affected by gentrification and isolated areas


Research existing creative collectives


I’m going to begin writing here about a project I’ve just begun in collaboration with the Scottish Government. Here I’ll be working within a group to carry out a project in creating new ways to bring people together in a collaborative way. I’ll be looking at how people who share interests, passion and skills can be brought together lead from an environmental design perspective. This week I’ll begin looking into other creative collectives and scoping how they have worked in this way, how they were brought together considering the group aesthetics. This is an exciting time! I’m already wondering…what do local people want? What skills do they have? What opportunities can be created for them? I hope you enjoy my posts over the coming weeks documenting my findings and journey through the project!