Public Spaces and Human Scale: The City at Eye Level While Moving at 5 KM/H

Public Spaces and Human Scale: The City at Eye Level While Moving at 5 KM/H

During the first days of the quarantine, we noticed a drastic change throughout the world's cities—streets, plazas, and parks deserted and devoid of life, putting into perspective the powerful effect that humans have on urban spaces. Here, we have compiled a list of projects and spaces that show just how humans bring life to the places they inhabit.

When we look out the window of a plane as it descends, we get an entirely different perspective of the objects on the ground compared to if we were standing still beside them. 

From a plane, cars on the highway seem to move in slow motion. Trees that tower in real life look like insignificant green specks. All of a sudden, we see things with a clarity unavailable to us on the ground.

This phenomenon is based on experience. Danish architect Jan Gehl explains the importance of said experience in his work In Search of the Human Scale, where he explains what he calls Brasilia Syndrome, a concept designed by architects that, while aesthetically appealing, fails to take into account distances and how they impact urban inhabitants.

Delving deeper into the issue, Gehl explains architecture as the meeting point between form and life, and a work of architecture that doesn't take into account its users is merely a sculpture.

Studying forms is far too simple compared to the study of life, and it's essential for architecture to draw from other disciplines and professions if it is to meet the needs of those who occupy and utilize it.  

The architect concludes that the best scale with which to measure is: At Eye Level While Moving at 5Km/h (3.1 Mph). To provide evidence for this claim, we have compiled a series of public spaces using different dimensions in order to give an idea of how humans impact the places they inhabit. 

LOOP / FAHR 021.3

Location: Porto, Portugal
Area: 102 m²

LOOP / FAHR 021.3. Image © João Morgado
LOOP / FAHR 021.3. Image © João Morgado
LOOP / FAHR 021.3. Image © João Morgado
LOOP / FAHR 021.3. Image © João Morgado

Archi Loft / Geometrix Design

Location: Moscow, Russia
Area: 450 m²

Archi Loft / Geometrix Design. Image © Daniel Annenkov
Archi Loft / Geometrix Design. Image © Daniel Annenkov
Archi Loft / Geometrix Design. Image © Ilya Ivanov
Archi Loft / Geometrix Design. Image © Ilya Ivanov

Vias Space / Estudio SIC

Location: León, Spain
Area: 800 m²

Vias Space / Estudio SIC. Image © Esaú Acosta
Vias Space / Estudio SIC. Image © Esaú Acosta
Vias Space / Estudio SIC. Image © Esaú Acosta
Vias Space / Estudio SIC. Image © Esaú Acosta

Tibidabo Welcome Square / MiAS Arquitectes

Location: Barcelona, Spain
Area: 1450 m²

Plaza Tibidabo / MiAS Arquitectes. Image © Gael del Rio
Plaza Tibidabo / MiAS Arquitectes. Image © Gael del Rio
Plaza Tibidabo / MiAS Arquitectes. Image © Gael del Rio
Plaza Tibidabo / MiAS Arquitectes. Image © Gael del Rio

Urban Amenities Sports Lot / Ricardo Sanz Sosa & Rodrigo Marín Briceño

Location: Caracas, Venezuela

Urban Amenities Sport Lot / Ricardo Sanz Sosa & Rodrigo Marín Briceño. Image © José Alberto Bastidas
Urban Amenities Sport Lot / Ricardo Sanz Sosa & Rodrigo Marín Briceño. Image © José Alberto Bastidas
Urban Amenities Sport Lot / Ricardo Sanz Sosa & Rodrigo Marín Briceño. Image © José Alberto Bastidas
Urban Amenities Sport Lot / Ricardo Sanz Sosa & Rodrigo Marín Briceño. Image © José Alberto Bastidas

L.B. Alberti Square Renovation / Archiplanstudio

Location: Mantua, Italy
Area: 2500 m²

L.B. Alberti Square Renovation / Archiplanstudio. Image © Giuseppe Gradella
L.B. Alberti Square Renovation / Archiplanstudio. Image © Giuseppe Gradella
L.B. Alberti Square Renovation / Archiplanstudio. Image © Giuseppe Gradella
L.B. Alberti Square Renovation / Archiplanstudio. Image © Giuseppe Gradella

New City Hall in Nancagua / Beals Lyon Arquitectos

Location: Nancagua, Chile
Area: 2700 m²

New City Hall in Nancagua / Beals Lyon Arquitectos. Image © Felipe Fontecilla
New City Hall in Nancagua / Beals Lyon Arquitectos. Image © Felipe Fontecilla
New City Hall in Nancagua / Beals Lyon Arquitectos. Image © Felipe Fontecilla
New City Hall in Nancagua / Beals Lyon Arquitectos. Image © Felipe Fontecilla

Muscat’s Marsa Plaza / ACME

Location: Muscat, Oman
Area: 5500 m²

Muscat’s Marsa Plaza / ACME. Image © Francisco Nogueira
Muscat’s Marsa Plaza / ACME. Image © Francisco Nogueira
Muscat’s Marsa Plaza / ACME. Image © Francisco Nogueira
Muscat’s Marsa Plaza / ACME. Image © Francisco Nogueira

Plaza del migrante / Taller DIEZ 05

Location: Veracruz, Mexico
Area: 6300 m²

Plaza del migrante / Taller DIEZ 05. Image © Luis Gordoa
Plaza del migrante / Taller DIEZ 05. Image © Luis Gordoa
Plaza del migrante / Taller DIEZ 05. Image © Luis Gordoa
Plaza del migrante / Taller DIEZ 05. Image © Luis Gordoa

Colinas del Sol Park / Francisco Pardo Arquitecto

Location: Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico
Area: 6300 m²

Colinas del Sol Park / Francisco Pardo Arquitecto. Image © Jaime Navarro
Colinas del Sol Park / Francisco Pardo Arquitecto. Image © Jaime Navarro
Colinas del Sol Park / Francisco Pardo Arquitecto. Image © Jaime Navarro
Colinas del Sol Park / Francisco Pardo Arquitecto. Image © Jaime Navarro

Costanera Ciudad de Paraná / Rubén Edgardo Cabrera

Location: Paraná, Entre Rios, Argentina
Area: 25200 m²

Costanera Ciudad de Paraná / Rubén Edgardo Cabrera. Image Cortesía de Rubén Edgardo Cabrera
Costanera Ciudad de Paraná / Rubén Edgardo Cabrera. Image Cortesía de Rubén Edgardo Cabrera
Costanera Ciudad de Paraná / Rubén Edgardo Cabrera. Image Cortesía de Rubén Edgardo Cabrera
Costanera Ciudad de Paraná / Rubén Edgardo Cabrera. Image Cortesía de Rubén Edgardo Cabrera

Tainan Spring / MVRDV

Location: Tainan, Taiwan
Area: 54600 m²

Tainan Spring / MVRDV. Image © Daria Scagliola
Tainan Spring / MVRDV. Image © Daria Scagliola
Tainan Spring / MVRDV. Image
Tainan Spring / MVRDV. Image

Revitalización de la Albarrada de Mompox / OPUS

Location: Mompox, Bolivar, Colombia
Area: 180000 m²

Revitalización de la Albarrada de Mompox / OPUS. Image © Sergio Gómez
Revitalización de la Albarrada de Mompox / OPUS. Image © Sergio Gómez
Revitalización de la Albarrada de Mompox / OPUS. Image © Sergio Gómez
Revitalización de la Albarrada de Mompox / OPUS. Image © Sergio Gómez

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Human Scale. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.

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About this author
Cite: Baraya, Santiago. "Public Spaces and Human Scale: The City at Eye Level While Moving at 5 KM/H" [Espacios públicos con y sin escala humana: La ciudad a la altura del ojo y a 5 Km/h] 09 Nov 2020. ArchDaily. (Trans. Johnson, Maggie) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/950734/public-spaces-and-human-scale-the-city-at-eye-level-while-moving-at-5-km-h> ISSN 0719-8884

公共空间与人体尺度,5 KM/小时行驶速度中的城市

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