Bringing the Open Brief to life. In the future, what are people doing?
People are eating ice-creams and watching people wandering in and out of small units for independent businesses. #GatheringPlace
People are sitting at tables outside a café drinking coffee, while not far away someone fills their water bottle at a free water fountain. #GatheringPlace
People are feeling very welcome to the area if they don’t want to spend much, or any, money. There is a pay-as-you-feel streetfood stall and people are sitting and eating homemade sandwiches. #GatheringPlace
Young people now meet here instead of “where the fountain used to be” as it’s easy to find and welcoming, and there’s space for them to sit and gather with shops and cafes close by. #GatheringPlace
Small groups are gathering and waiting for a gig that is about to start. #GatheringPlace
A community theatre group rehearses in public – and passers by see a poster for the performance and buy tickets. #GatheringPlace
In the early evening skaters and skateboarders are drawn to the area – as are young people of all kinds – to hang out and spend time, ensuring the area feels safe and is full of life. #GatheringPlace
Easily finding accessible and clean toilets – and enough that can cope with high demand. #GatheringPlace #GatheringAccessibly
Activity: Design Challenges
- It will be important for people to be able to spend time in the area without spending money. This means careful design of space, seating and other features (water fountains, shelter) to allow commercial units (cafes, bars etc) to coexist with seating and gathering space where there is no pressure to spend.
- People felt that this was an area that didn’t need shops …but it was also accepted that commercial activity can bring life to outdoor space. New commercial units should be designed to bring economic diversity to the area. Power supplies for stalls – both profit and not-for-profit – need to be designed into the public spaces.
- The seating and other infrastructure should be designed to minimise costs for community-led performances (see Flexibility of Use)
- Evening activity should be encouraged to ensure the spaces are animated when the shops close. What kind of environment will enable this, and how should lighting, shelter and enclosure be designed? How can the environment make it easy to clean up ready for the next day?
- The public space should be designed to provide “skateable architecture” for skaters and skateboarders. Here, steps, ramps, edging treatments and protection for soft landscaping should be robust, with suitable edge treatments and absence of skate-stopping. Layout should allow use without conflict with movement routes.