Outdoor Spaces and Human Connections

measuring the square
Seven meters distance is close enough to start a conversation.

May 22, 2019
Hanna Herzog

Hallo Everyone! Today was a fun day exploring Delft and analyzing public spaces in a different way. Having watched a video called Life Between Buildings, we had a group discussion (sitting out in the sun!) about how public outdoor spaces can influence our day-to-day behavior and also encourage social and other optional activities.

enjoying a square
After a lunch break, we split into groups of three and hit the streets, seeing Delft at a human scale, the speed and viewpoint that humans see the world when walking 5km an hour. When traveling at a car or bike speed, you pass by places much quicker. As we walked, we noticed different human behaviors and interactions in public spaces, such as people sitting in a café or making their daily commute to and from work. We found another group observing social activities in the square!
In the central square, we used our measuring wheels to find the lengths people can stand from one another that determine the different interactions they can have. This is important when designing public spaces, as different-sized spaces can effectively serve different purposes. From 7 meters away we found that you can speak to another person, get their attention, and thus start a conversation. Gathering spaces like restaurants are organized this way.
public square
When standing 100 meters away, you can recognize human movement (although it can sometimes be difficult). This length of space is used for designing stadiums or city squares just like this one. In this picture I stood all the way across the square - you can barely see my red shirt!


We finished up and spent the rest of the finishing up our work and eating dinner. A few of us biked to Den Hague to watch the sunset over the North Sea, a beautiful end to a great day!