Urban Outfitter: What Factors Help Us Feel Good in a City?
When something new is built in our cities it has the power to affect the quality of our lives. Much like a bad environment in a restaurant can ruin the meal, buildings, parks and even street layouts can impact our emotions and how we behave.
Thoughtful placement of trees and flowers can soothe or surprise us like the colorful texturing on a piece of sushi encourages us to admire it a little bit longer before we eat it (adding to the flavor and leaving us more fulfilled and happier).
From the choice of color on store signage to the placement of park benches, every aspect of our cities has been meticulously designed with the sole purpose of optimizing space. Because of that, urban planners and property developers have an immense responsibility.
Poor design choices will not only waste space but could potentially endanger lives. Whereas good design choices, like a good cafe, put a smile on your face and leave you with the feeling, “damn, I want to come back here tomorrow!”
We often believe that cities are places that are too concrete, or rigid, to upgrade easily without a large bank account. However, city tweaks are happening all around the world. LED street lights are now giving overlooked avenues a better glow, in turn improving the area’s night-time economy. A fresh coat of paint to your house, door or fence, adds a touch more vibrancy to a neighborhood.
It’s these adjustments that can mould our modern cities into more livable places.
These are a few urban elements that I believe city-makers can learn the most from:
1: Lively Promenade
Promenade’s transform a barren area into a lively area for activity. When designed properly, they provide room for exercise and a place for relaxing.
2: Semi-Permanent Pop-Ups
Pop-up dining shops bring revitalized life into urban areas that are yet to blossom. Rather than spend large amounts of money renting out a traditional building, these temporary venues are cost effective and sensitive to the area.
3: Night Lighting
Landmarks have a different tone with great lighting, especially in the evening. Paris’s claim to be the most romantic city in the world in strengthened by its investment in lighting its key monuments, creating an environment where love can blossom.
4. Old Faithful
Park benches are a friend to all. It’s the perfect companion for meditation and conversation.
5: Fresh Produce
Every neighborhood needs a good grocery store. They empower citizens to make healthier choices, but also highlights what it means to be local.