The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Necessary, Optional and Social?

An ordinary day on an ordinary street. Pedestrians pass on the sidewalks, children play near front doors, people sit on benches and steps, two passersby greet on the sidewalk, groups engage in conversation. This mix of outdoor activities is influenced by a number of conditions. Greatly simplified though, these activities in public spaces can be divided into three categories, each of which places very different demands on physical environment.

Necessary activities include those that are more or less compulsory and in majority can be summed up as those related to walking. These activities are necessary, their incidence is influenced only slightly by the physical framework. These take place throughout the year, under nearly all circumstances.

Optional activities are participated if there is a wish to do so... if time and place make it possible. These take place only when conditions are optimal and place invites them. When outdoors are of high quality, activities take place with approximately the same sequence. However a wide range of optional activities will occur because place and situation invites people to stop, sit, eat, play etc.

Social activities depend on the presence of others in public spaces. The most widespread of social activities is a passive contact - simply seeing and hearing the other people.These activities can also be termed as a result of the above mentioned as they evolve from activities linked to each other. Social activities occur spontaneously as direct consequence of people moving about and being in the same space. The presence of others compromises one of the most important characters of public spaces - the subject of outdoor activities therefore does not begin with a single or limited category of activities - it is finely interwoven pattern.

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