Interactive Public Spaces Make Successful Places

Community spaces enhance our surroundings. They try to bring people together in a cohesive environment, which is open to the public. This can be seen in many squares, streets, markets and parks worldwide where people from different backgrounds come together in groups.

Many urbanists such as Lefebvre, Doreen Massey, Ash Amin and others have written on this issue of public space and community. Lefebvre thinks that people have an innate desire to communicate and play with their surroundings through the ‘oeuvre’ where they come together in different ways to experience their environment. According to him, everything humans experience in the outer world is planned as the human has the “need to see, to hear, to touch, to taste and the need to gather these perceptions in a world.” Community spaces highly inspire such “anthropological needs” of human beings making everything in the public space an urban experience.

Public space serves as a very important entity in our urban lives. It helps us relax, motivates us to see things we might otherwise overlook, and also helps us to be part of a community. As Stephen Carr states in his book Public Space:

“When public spaces are successful they will increase opportunities to participate in communal activity. In the parks, plazas, markets, waterfronts, and natural areas of our cities, people from different cultural groups can come together in a supportive context of mutual enjoyment. As these experiences are repeated, public spaces become vessels to carry positive communal meanings.”

This means people draw from their public spaces is an important concept towards the study of urbanism. Public art in public spaces for instance can make people interact with each other and the object as they experience joy from the communal space.

Ash Amin, a geographer from the University of Cambridge who has researched into this area, notes that the public space gives a sense of freedom and safety for people to be open so as to not perceive the space as a threat. This is because it’s common behavior to feel threatened in our streets and outdoor spaces. We don’t always feel like we can be ourselves outside of our homes when we are left alone in a big city. There are certain behavioral practices and rules to be followed. But in some public spaces, there is an element of play and interaction which makes us forget those community rules we follow while walking alone on the street. Many spaces also gives us the opportunity to get together with our friends and relatives and act nonchalantly. Urbanists think that such places are planned to be perceived in a freer manner for community gathering.

What makes our community spaces interactive? Why do we behave in a different manner when we interact with our community in comparison to when we don’t? Why do we feel less threatened? These are questions many urbanists ponder over our cities and how to make successful public spaces.

I feel that as humans we all have an innate desire to communicate with each other and when we interact we feel safer and less threatened than when we are left alone. Public spaces which enhance interaction not only with humans but also with objects are successful because of this innate desire. We get a sense of fulfilment and joy in immersing ourselves with objects or other people. Our public spaces show that we all long to interact with our spaces and the ones which help us do so, are successful.

Therefore, public spaces should create more interactive environments so that people can participate in them. There are many ways to do this, through landscaping, design and amenities provided in the public space. More research into this topic will provide a better understanding of ways to make public spaces more interactive.


The Task of Writing

The Task of Writing

Some helpful points to realise your writing potential.

“Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.”

This quote by Winston Churchill resonates within me. I find it hard to believe how the difficulties in my life have many times resulted in opportunities. Some opportunities grabbed; others missed. I would not have been sitting here writing this post without having encountered difficulties in my life prior to this article.

Writing can be a difficult task. No matter how adept one thinks they are at writing, there are always opportunities for improvement. I have definitely had an emotional relationship with writing. Many times my work has been discredited and criticised. But I never stopped trying. It was difficult, to begin with — the only way I could improve was to take the criticisms constructively and to keep improving my skills.

I have certainly come a long way with my writing skills. I believe that improvement is a state of mind which can be attained only by repeatedly trying to construct. As Churchill suggests, consistently mastering the difficulties will result in opportunities.

It has been a wonderful learning curve for me and one that I am yet to master. Although I had always written essays for my courses at University, writing for work is a different experience. I have proved to myself that I can write academically as well as professionally.

Here are four important points to remember before one starts writing. They might be helpful to anyone who is interested in writing:

Read a lot — There is a lot of material out there to choose from. Read articles which interest you. It is likely that by reading articles which are of interest to you, you will gain an understanding of the writing style you want to adopt.

Volunteer — Personally, volunteering to write articles online has tremendously increased my faith and confidence in writing. The more I wrote, regardless of the topic or the length of the post, the better I became at writing. This is a very positive way to gain feedback from experienced professional writers or other bloggers.

Blog — Maintain your own blog. Write as much as you possibly can. Start small and build your way up. I have maintained a blog for a short time now and I am extremely happy with the way it has progressed. I have acquired a decent amount of followers on my blog. Many people are also willing to give feedback. Remember to experiment as much as you can. It’s a great way to improve and understand your personal skills!

Don’t give up — Believe that you can do it. Don’t let anxiety get the better of you. It can be overwhelming while seeing other experienced writers do a great job when you’re just starting. Realise they were also once like you. Everyone begins small. Trusting that you can, might surprise you into achieving something that you might have initially feared.

Taking it in

Sometimes I feel like I’m in an imagination
As if life is too unreal to be true
Like my dreams will never come to fruition
That it’s all in my mind

But then I learn to breathe
I’m taking in too much
I’m tired
I need rest
There will be times when you question yourself
Everyone else seems to get the hang of life
Why am I so backward?
I see everyone moving ahead
I’m still stagnant
It’s too much to take in

Like a dream come true

Dreams always appear
The thought of doing something new
The chance to encounter a new horizon
For a new beginning
A challenge to take once we’ve reached the goals we set ourselves
To change the perceptions of many
To believe more in our own abilities
For a new future
One that will give us enormous joy
A sense of achievement that is beyond our imaginations
Oh! How it would be to achieve this dream!
Like a dream come true.

Afraid of the dark

Alice was in her house. She was all alone in the dark. She is usually afraid of the dark. Terrified. But this night she turned the TV on and sat calmly on the sofa reading her engrossing book about travel and tourism. She always wanted to travel but she never had enough money. So, she’s been stuck in the same city for all her life. She is 35 and all these years she’s never travelled outside of her country. She has been to some cities in the same country but never outside. That disappoints her but at least she can read it in the books to see how the cities she’s never been to are expressed. She can imagine. Imagination doesn’t die and maybe some day she will travel.

This night was different. She didn’t feel afraid of the dark. But there were tubelights in her house and the bulb was burning bright. She didn’t want to turn off the light to sleep. The tragedy of living alone without a husband was she had to endure the dark which she didn’t like. But she felt better than other days today. She felt like she could face her fears with darkness. She can drive away the demons.

ALice went to sleep turning the lights off. She didn’t feel scared. She had the best sleep she’s ever had.