Fostering Enjoyable Public Spaces

Updated: May 29, 2018

Bianca Bodley, owner and principle designer of Biophilia Collective shares with us her thoughts on public spaces.

What makes a public space inviting and engaging?

I have come to understand that it’s the relationship between people and public spaces that brings about that magical feeling. Spaces that are welcoming and accessible, invite us to engage with them.

It’s remarkable when you see people in conversation, children climbing a structure, families picnicking, friends playing catch and people reading next to a fountain, all in one place. A sense of community and togetherness is suddenly very tangible.

Is it the scale? The plant life? The people? The surrounding area? I believe it’s a special combination of those things unique to each location.

As a designer I think about the end-users. I try to see it from their perspective, even from their height! I love the challenge of creating a space that is fun for kids but still beautiful and enjoyable for adults of all ages and abilities.

I recently visited a vineyard in South Africa. It had comfortable wooden lounge chairs on a welcoming patio within a courtyard. Running the width of the courtyard was a long, narrow water feature with a pool at one end. Children and adults splashed around barefoot under the shade of a mature tree canopy. The mix of nature, human interaction, beauty and pleasure caused a magical feeling that resonated with me.

Understanding our community and surroundings is necessary in designing public spaces that are safe, playful and interesting to the young and old. Places to play, socialize, eat, rest and repose.

When we understand our community, we can design and build responsive spaces where everyone feels invited.


Biophilia Design Collective Ltd

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