Using Social Design to Revive Urban Spaces

Social design is about creating spaces where people can connect. It's about turning the space into a place that inspires long conversations, connection to the community and the outdoor landscape.

Within social design, mindful selection of materials and products is imperative for a successfully designed urban space. All components within the design—from plant species to outdoor seating elements to lighting—set the tone for a space and have the power to evoke feeling and change within communities.

These featured designers have revived urban areas around the world, creating not only inviting and beautiful areas, but improving the livelihood of the communities surrounding them.

The ChonGae Canal Restoration Project

One of the hallmarks of successful social design is returning public spaces to the people. In Seoul, South Korea, there’s no better example of this than in the restoration of the ChonGae Canal.

Taeoh Kim

With the goal of revitalizing this “highly polluted and covered water-way,” Mikyoung Kim Design dramatically transformed the space into a pedestrian-focused urban area.

The plaza’s design symbolizes the future reunification of the eight historical provinces of Korea, and is framed by donated local stone from each province.

Eight waterfalls feed into the 7-mile green corridor, resulting in a dramatic social design that fosters unity and harmony in the community and improves the health of the visitors as well as local fauna.

The project increased the number of fish, bird and insect species, cut air pollution and reduced air temperatures.

Piazza Mazzini

A popular square for hosting festivals and cultural events, Piazza Mazzini is one of Albano Laziale, Italy’s most vibrant town squares.

In bustling plazas like this, the challenge for the designer is to create a relaxing tone amid the action. By using Metalco’s elegantly designed modular seats, Albano Laziale provides a space where the community can relax, congregate and take in the scenery.

Lighting integration offers a peaceful ambiance to the plaza and extends the use of the space beyond the day. These island seating configurations have become the focal point of the plaza and very popular within the profession of landscape architecture.

Metalco’s Harris Isola designed by Sijit

Metalco’s Harris Isola designed by Sijit

Poppy Plaza

Similar to the ChonGae canal in Seoul, Poppy Plaza was built with a noble purpose. Poppy Plaza stands as a war memorial that celebrates Canada’s service men and women.

Stantec Consulting and The Marc Boutin Architectural Collaborative transformed an underused greenspace along Calgary’s Memorial Drive into a serene sanctuary that honors the memory of those who have fought at war.

Yellow Camera

Integrated within the plaza is the preservation of an original heritage tree, which was planted in 1922. This tree not only enhances the historic beauty of the plaza but offers visitors natural shade. Using wood and steel folded benches in the space gives visitors a place to interact, both with each other and with the memorial.

Enhancing the Human Experience in Urban Communities

Social design ensures that a space functions according to the needs of its community, local history and culture. It turns unused spaces into revived places where people can connect, work and play.

For more information on high-design site furnishings that can support your social design efforts, please contact id created, Inc., the exclusive distributors of METALCO products in the U.S. and Canada.