Making squares

A Study of Urban Form and Co-presence

Kailun Sun

Increasing residential segregation in cities gives public spaces a more important role in solidarity processes, bringing people together, supporting movement, co-presence and co-awareness (Hanson 2000, Legeby 2013). Thus public squares have great significance providing an arena for social interplay as people become co-present. 


As the way we build the city organizes and forms the public space further forms the shape of society (Legeby, 2010), we need better understand how design interventions influence co-presence in public space, specifically, at squares. The earlier studies (Legeby et al. 2015; Legeby 2013) shows that high spatial integration and the relation between local and global integration plays an important role for the mix of locals and non-locals beside aspects relating to land use. The study in Gothenburg was so far limited to squares in neighbourhoods developed following modernistic planning ideals and the urban form variables studied were limited to the centrality measures. Therefore this thesis project will contribute to the earlier findings in two ways: firstly, by adding more squares representing a broader spectrum of neighbourhood types and secondly, by adding more urban form variables.

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Map of Gothenburg squares

Spatial reach of each square, R=500m, walking distance

A diagram in the Design Manual: four modules and two loops, Analysis Loop and Design Loop. The proposed method/design approach can contribute to both decision making and design process, with support of three inquiries and two reference diagrams in the manual.

Map of Gothenburg squares


Project timeframe: 2016