Out of the square? : Exploring the task of urban public space.A case: Studies of St: Johannesplan & Konsthallstorget

University essay from Malmö universitet/Institutionen för Urbana Studier (US)

Abstract: In 2008, Malmö stad, together with Svenska kyrkan,announced an invited competition for designing S:tJohannesplan and Konsthallstorget in Malmö (Malmö Stad 2008). With its central location in the city andvarious options for activities, the area has become a major attraction point. White Architects proposal “Open stage” was announced as winner for its flexible function and close connection to historically aesthetic elements (Malmö Stad 2008). By 2014, the area had gotten a severe facelift. With the citytunnel, bus stops and cycle paths S:t Johannesplanand Konsthallstorget is today easily accessible. My thesis aims to shed light on how the task, described in the competition program, was fulfilled. A case study of S:t Johannesplan and Konsthallstorget has been conducted to explore how the emotional connection between the users and the square evokes social activity. The communication between user, square and built environment has been studied using observations, mapping, interviews and readings. Parallels are drawn to phenomenology as a part of exploring the mental tasks of the built environment. Squares as a historical phenomenon have briefly been studied to discover similarities and differences with the contemporary square. The thesis was founded in experienced based research, with my own experiences and emotional connection to square environments located in the central part of Malmö as a canvas. A toolkit consisting of mapping methods has been used for physically mapping participatory observationsin a scientific stance. In cooperation with literary research, interviews and mapping the regular user`s experience, an understanding picture of how the square is generally experienced is brought forward. The outcome from the gathered data is a design proposal for developments at the site which would benefit social activity and elevated sensual presence according to described existing needs. The question of meeting criteria is discussed whereas certain circumstances historically have governed this. The proposal is supported by existing theoretical idealsand strategies for urban planning and design.

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