Some TEDx videos have had hundreds of thousands of views. I wanted to surface one with just a few hundred.
Toms Kokins spoke at TEDxRiga about something that’s important and relevant to Canberra: the design and quality of public spaces. Toms starts off with the observation that cats don’t like too-large spaces, then looks at how humans behave – which, it turns out, is pretty much the same way.
Interesting ideas connect to and remind us of other concepts: for me, Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language which discusses how humans respond to architectural and urban space, and the much more recent photographic explorations by David Yoon, who wonders what Los Angeles would be like if the city was built for human beings, not for cars.
Like many modern cities, Canberra has been badly served by urban designers thinking about public space from the perspective of a satellite, not that of a human being. On one side of the Playhouse building, a three-lane highway cuts off the very centre of the city from any human contact. On the other side, a too-large square has undergone attempted remediation with an aggressively ugly fountain. Further afield, Lake Burley Griffin is cut off from the city by Parkes Way.
Good spaces seem to happen more by accident than by planning – or at least, planning as it’s been practiced in the last century. How can we make our urban spaces more human?