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What makes a public space great?

Great public spaces like beaches, parks, squares and pavements are characterised by what they offer the people who use them every day. From cleanliness to security, sociability and amenities on offer, there are various factors that help to create the perfect space. But what else makes public spaces special? Some of our precinct managers give their views:

Spaces that promote human contact

Activities that draw people together are key for Bridge City Precinct Manager Nwabisa Mkhize. “While working in Rosebank, Johannesburg I remember enjoying scheduled public space performances where many families would look forward to spending time together to enjoy the entertainment on offer,” she offers.

Spaces that are connected to nature

Former Riverhorse Valley Precinct Manager, Bruce Macaulay enjoys being close to nature. “For what is essentially an industrial and commercial precinct, having the Umhlangane river flow through Riverhorse Valley has blessed us with natural beauty seldom seen in built up areas. Seeing mongoose, leguaans, raptors and pelicans every day certainly takes the edge off the stresses of the modern working world,” he says.

Accessible spaces

Thierry Leclezio from the Ballito UIP says: “I love that the Ballito promenade, a popular public space for locals and visitors, has 13 beach access points making entry to this important public amenity and the beach so easy.”

A place where everyone belongs

Head of Northern Operations Jarrod Evans stated that in addition to accessibility and cleanliness, a public space should be diverse, sociable and attract the creative community. Durban’s Florida Road exudes old world charm and nostalgia and attracts a wide range of people from all over the city who come to enjoy its many restaurants, coffee shops and stores. Precinct Manager Andrew Fynn says: “Because it’s well-located with an array of offerings, Florida Road attracts a diverse, stylish population essentially creating a space where everyone belongs.”

Sibaya Coastal Precinct Manager Gray Braatvedt sums it up: “A public area that is well managed and orderly creates space for things like creativity, multiculturalism and nature to make it unique and special. It’s important to have the basics in place first for a space and its people to thrive.”

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