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Transforming Public Spaces for Local Communities

SEPCO 5/20/24 6:30 AM
How to Develop Safe Public Spaces for the Whole Community
How to Develop Safe Public Spaces for the Whole Community

Every community needs a few public spaces where people can gather and relax. Libraries, public parks, and outdoor recreational areas are just a few examples of community spaces. When people can meet up with friends and family and enjoy their leisure time without being required to spend money, it’s a boon for the entire community. Maybe you’d like to start advocating for better public spaces in your own community – or perhaps you’re currently working on a design strategy for a specific public space in your area. Regardless, today’s tips from SEPCO Solar Lighting can guide you through everything from creating safe, purpose-centered spaces to installing proper lighting!


Aesthetic Design

It might seem like the aesthetics of public spaces are not as important as other design choices. While you’ll want to prioritize factors like accessibility, cleanliness, and security over aesthetic decisions, creating visually appealing public spaces makes people more eager to spend time there. This might mean including artwork, murals, or sculptures by local artists, creating garden beds for native plants, using bright colors in the space’s infrastructure, and even making sure that the signage and infographics used in the space are attractive and eye-catching.


Security Tips

It’s important to be proactive about security in order to keep public spaces safe at all hours. Sometimes, physical security features can help. For instance, you can have traffic barriers installed to keep cars out of pedestrian-only areas. You’ll also want to invest in technical security features. TALGLOBAL suggests having security cameras placed in areas that receive lots of foot traffic, as well as including emergency call boxes and emergency locator systems in your space’s design. Overall, try to ensure that any security features subtly blend into the landscaping.


Smart cameras have revolutionized security in public areas, offering advanced features that significantly enhance surveillance and safety. These cameras, equipped with AI-driven technology, can detect unusual activities, recognize faces, and even track movements in real-time, providing a more robust security system than traditional cameras. They play a crucial role in deterring crime and enabling swift responses to security incidents.


However, like all technology, smart cameras can encounter issues. Therefore, it's important for security personnel to keep troubleshooting references handy. Having quick access to these guides ensures that any technical problems can be addressed promptly, minimizing downtime and maintaining continuous surveillance.


Planning Accessible Walkways

Before you start making a specific lighting plan for a public space, you’ll need to think about plotting walkways. Whether you’re designing an indoor or outdoor space, you’ll inevitably end up planning out some designated walkways. Make sure to plot out walkways that allow for multiple entrances and exits to the space. That way, if one entrance or exit is blocked, people can still safely walk through the space. Furthermore, you’ll want to ensure that all walkways and entryways are wide enough for people with mobility aids to navigate.


Wide walkways and entryways are just one example of design choices for accessible public spaces! Look up areas with high walkability to observe good examples of others. If you want to design a truly inclusive, accessible public space, Project for Public Spaces recommends including ample seating, plenty of accessible restrooms, tactile strips at any crosswalks, and designated parking spaces for people with disabilities. You should also aim to create spaces with clear, unobstructed lines of sight – this will help people feel safer as they navigate the area.


The Importance of Lighting

Lighting is a critical element in the design of public spaces, enhancing both aesthetics and safety. Well-lit areas are essential for deterring crime and increasing the usability of spaces after dark, thus promoting safety and accessibility. Solar lighting for public spaces, in particular, offers a sustainable and cost-effective solution. By harnessing the power of the sun, solar lights minimize ongoing energy costs and reduce the environmental impact compared to traditional lighting. They are easy to install and require minimal maintenance, making them ideal for a variety of public settings, from parks to pedestrian paths.


Solar lights not only contribute to a safer environment by illuminating dark areas but also align with the financial and ecological goals of communities. Their adaptability in terms of installation and style makes them a practical choice for enhancing the safety and functionality of public spaces, ensuring these areas are welcoming and safe at all times.


Maintain Accurate Contact Info

As you work to develop safe public spaces for everyone in your community, you’re naturally going to be accumulating a lot of networking and collaborative information – so it’s important that you keep updated contact info. Maintaining a digital file of contact information is helpful, but you might also need a reverse phone lookup service to make sure you have the right information on file. It’s a good idea to check your sources every few months to make sure there haven’t been any changes you’re unaware of.


Keeping Spaces Clean

Cleanliness in public spaces is crucial. When lots of people are passing through a particular space, day in and day out, it’s all too easy for the space to become messy. It’s important to instill a sense of collective responsibility for cleanliness through your design choices. Make sure to place lots of trash cans along walking paths and put up signs discouraging people from littering. You may even want to organize weekend clean-ups with volunteers to get rid of any stray trash.


The Purpose of Community Spaces

In order to design a public space in a way that best serves your community, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about the specific purpose for the space. Remember, many public spaces are used for multiple purposes! Public spaces can be designed for self-care, exercise, networking, and more. The purpose of a particular space will help you come up with an appropriate design strategy. For example, if a space will be used for networking, consider how you can support this purpose through smart design choices.


Networking can feel intimidating for many people, but it’s crucial for career advancement and community building, so having a space where people can comfortably network with their own social circle and beyond is crucial. When you’re networking, try to remember why you’re with others in the first place, and choose opportunities that put you face-to-face with people you think will best benefit from your expertise.


In community spaces, extroverts and introverts can come together to support each other in their professional development. When designing a space that will be used for networking, such as a coworking space, Alcon Lighting says to have a mix of private and public areas – that way, people can work on individual projects and gather for community events.


Welcoming community spaces can make small towns and cities alike much better places to live. By investing in public spaces, every community can improve the quality of life for its residents. With these tips, you’ll be able to come up with the right lighting plan, ensure that each space you design fulfills its purpose, and keep your town’s public spaces safe and clean for everyone.