Assessing the quality of public areas in four Dutch cities

Year: 2022

Client: Platform Ruimte Voor Lopen; Municipalities of Den Haag, Groningen, Nijmegen, Rotterdam

Status: in progress

Good Public Space for Walking

Every city wishes to prioritise citizens' well-being when planning its public spaces. But do we really know how good our parks and plazas are, and how to make them better? Trying to achieve this with endless numbers, theories, and technological tools can be overwhelming, and it's neither efficient nor human.


In collaboration with Platform Ruimte Voor Lopen–a national network for exchange and collaboration, intended for organisations and professionals who want to create more space for walking–and the Municipalities of Den Haag, Groningen, Nijmegen and Rotterdam, we are using our Good Public Space Analysis to assess the quality and walkability potential of four different locations in each of those Dutch cities. The typology of places is diverse: from city centre squares, to shopping areas, to residential neighbourhoods, in order for the data to be as precise and holistic as possible.


Combining data analyses, behavioural studies and physical observations carried out by both Humankind and Municipalities’ officials, the objective is to determine guidelines and recommendations to create better public spaces for walking that are targeted to each urban area.


Developed by Humankind between 2021 and 2022, the Good Public Space Analysis is an interdisciplinary, human-centric and flexible methodology for the study of urban public spaces. A classical spatial analysis is superposed on a behavioural one to showcase the gaps between design and actual use, making planning recommendations straightforward and easily understandable. A new, holistic and scalable approach that aims to make it easier for planners, governments and designers alike to create good public spaces for people.