Seeing different types of public space

Matthew Carmona, a scholar who tracks how design influences people’s use of public space, has categorized 20 types of public space. Using this typology, we created maps of the public spaces for each study area:

The maps show that “interface spaces”, such as parking lots, and movement spaces, such as sidewalks and transit stations, serve as the most common forms of public space in the study areas. This is not surprising given the built-up character of University Avenue. Some locations are an exception to this. Tower Park, for instance, features open parkland and forest. The University of Minnesota and State Capitol each contain specialized uses of public space that entail a tighter degree of control. The intersection of University and Western avenues is noteworthy because it contains the greatest diversity of public spaces in our study, including places of public accommodation, such as grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, and community organizations. We also observed the greatest number of murals and protest art there.