Think of a dull, gray space in your city that people walk through each day, but generally detest. What would it take to turn it into a genuinely appealing place where people actually want to hang out?
Maybe not as much as you’d think. That’s what designers in Canberra, Australia, learned when they decided to spruce up an imposing concrete plaza to make it more attractive to locals. Their interventions weren’t huge, expensive, or particularly novel: Color is the most noticeable addition they made to Garema Place, by way of yarn-bombs, paint, and lighting. They also added vibrant, lightweight tables and chairs that people could move wherever they wanted, and installed a patch of grass to bring a little more nature into the mix…and voilà!
The pop-up park, dubbed #BackyardExperiment, brought a striking change to the area, as explained in the short documentary above and an accompanying white paper. The number of people walking through the plaza nearly tripled in the eight days of the experiment, which took place in mid-October. But before it began, 97 percent of all people in the area walked through without stopping, and nearly all of them were adults under 64 years old. To read the remaining article
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