Shared outdoor spaces and community life: assessing the relationship between design and social interaction

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Chen, Duoduo
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University of Guelph

A lack of social interactions among neighbours is a frequent criticism of China's urban high-rise and high density (UHH) neighbourhoods. While design professionals encourage social interaction through designing neighbourhood open spaces, little research has been conducted to reveal design criteria that contribute to social interaction. This research aimed to develop and test design criteria that will assist professionals in encouraging social interaction in Chinese UHH neighbourhoods. From a review of Western literature, design criteria for encouraging social interactions were developed as an assessment checklist. In order to examine the applicability of the design criteria to China, an open space assessment and a behavior observation were conducted in a typical Chinese UHH neighbourhood. Comparison of the results revealed that Western design criteria were useful in understanding the relationship between design and social interaction in China's UHH neighbourhoods.

outdoor space, community life, design, social interaction, urban high-rise and high density neighbourhoods, shared spaces, open space assessment