In the many years that we worked in spatial planning, we discovered that little is known about the relationship between the use and
the design of public space, and that the available information is highly fragmented.
Actually that is quite strange, because the public space is primarily intended for people. You can develop ambitious visions and masterplans, but ultimately “it” is about a design that facilitates the needs of users. Public space should be designed by looking through the 'eye' of the user. We felt the increasing urgency for a handbook that defines a relationship between use and design.
Between idea and the actual book lie about three years, in which we worked with great pleasure on this handbook. Kyra has written mainly about social safety, green, movement friendly, healthy, and sustainable public space. Rosemarie specialised in leisure related topics, including child friendliness, sport and movement, and parks and squares. Together we studied literature, made use of our own expertise and analysed successful and less successful public areas to determine key spatial factors.
The aim was a concrete, complete, and immediately usable handbook. So without vague terms such as 'quality' or 'experience' and with as many dimensions as possible. A book that can be used in any design task for the public space, with hundreds of guidelines to offer support. Obviously, these guidelines are not 'set in stone'; we welcome additions and modifications based on experiences.
The many photographs show good examples and less successful public spaces in more than 50 cities at home and abroad. These visuals support the written guidelines; they visualize the characteristics that we want to show. We explicitly do not intend to eulogize or question any specific place.
We would like to thank all members of our expert group, who from the very first contact welcomed our plan for this handbook and assisted us in word and deed (see annexe for names). Acquire Publishing deserves kudos for the enthusiastic way they have turned the script into an actual book. This could not be done without the creative input of de Bladenkamer | grafisch ontwerpers.
Amsterdam, August 2016
Ing. Kyra Kuitert ®RCE
Drs. Rosemarie Maas
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