The Importance of Public Spaces in Cities
Public spaces are considered an extension of the community. They have significant importance in the life of citizens and cities. If planned right, these areas can have environmental, economic, and health benefits. In fact, in addition to determining the character of the city, public spaces also help citizens adopt healthy lifestyles and build better relationships with each other. From giving cities an identity, to creating economic benefits, public spaces can also revitalize streets, which may become settings for cultural and social activities.
Here are 5 reasons why public spaces in cities are important:
1- Public spaces attract more investment:
Well-designed public spaces that have museums, cultural artifacts, and good landscaping design tend to attract more businesses and investments into the city, as public spaces often increase the value of properties around them. In fact, business investments are always attracted by well-structured and well-maintained spaces. They not only increase investment in businesses, however, but also in housing, helping increase and boost housing value and the price of rent. For example, a well-maintained public area tends to attract and increase the number of people visiting retail stores. On the other hand, people often look to invest in homes and properties that are near green spaces and are often willing to pay more for such places.
2- Public spaces revitalize the city and boost tourism:
Public spaces should always be open and accessible to all, regardless of age, gender, race, or social standing. This is why people consider public spaces vital and good places to go to for entertainment and for engaging with other people. In fact, when properly designed, public spaces can revitalize the city. Different entertainment activities can be organized in public spaces, which makes them very important for the city, as they boost tourism and attract more people. Increased tourism would, in turn, revitalize the city and help support local economies, which can have a positive impact on the general economy.
3- Public spaces enhance physical and mental health:
Amid growing concerns about the physical and mental health of citizens, public spaces are providing a great solution for both. In fact, it is a well-known fact that public spaces provide an opportunity for citizens to meet, socialize, make friends, and do outdoor activities. This motivates people to go out more, as public spaces encourage people to exercise, walk, and do different kinds of sports, which reduces obesity and enhances physical health. However, mental health and well-being is also important. Because public spaces promote socializing, they provide the opportunity for citizens to meet new people and relieve their stress after long days of work. This would lead to a better social life for the citizens, allowing them to interact more and communicate more, leading to better social cohesion and enhanced mental well-being.
4- Public spaces promote sustainability:
Sustainability has become a very important topic in the past few years, especially since problems like climate change are starting to affect the lives of citizens everywhere, including cities. Urban designers and city leaders today are starting to realize that public spaces can have a great and positive impact on the environment, as they promote sustainability. Because public spaces often have green areas, they contribute to air quality and help ease temperatures in hot weathers. In addition, when well-planned and well-maintained, public spaces can help reduce floods and maintain the biodiversity in the city. Trees, plants, and flowerbeds, for example, can help clear the air and absorb as much water from rain, which makes them strategic for urban drainage.
5- They reduce traffic and pollution:
One of the main benefits of public spaces is their ability to reduce traffic because when placed strategically and well-designed, they encourage people to walk more instead of using cars to go to their destinations. Less cars on the streets lead to less traffic jams and encourages healthier means of transport, such as cycling and walking. And as traffic jams and the use of cars decrease, and because public spaces often have large green areas, they help reduce pollution and promote healthy living, leading to healthier and pollution free cities, especially when they are built with sustainability in mind. In fact, the different types of trees and plants in cities would not only help beautify the city, but also help increase livability.
Placemaking Is Important
Streets, roads, parks, and gardens are all public spaces that need to strategically be placed to serve their purpose to the best extent. This is why placemaking in any city is considered important, as good placemaking can help provide areas for social interaction and economic activities, which always leads to better economic development and to enhanced desirability of the city. In fact, placemaking should always be people-centered, as its main purpose is to strengthen the connections between the people and create a sense of belonging that would make the citizens enjoy living, working, and playing in a particular space.