URBAN DESIGN International

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 207–214

Meeting and greeting: Activities in public outdoor spaces outside high-density urban residential communities

Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/udi.2009.19

Cite this article as:
Zhang, W. & Lawson, G. Urban Des Int (2009) 14: 207. doi:10.1057/udi.2009.19


This paper examines the opportunities for social activities in public outdoor spaces associated with high-density residential living. This study surveyed activities in outdoor spaces outside three high-density residential communities in Brisbane. Results indicated that activity patterns in public outdoor space outside residential communities are different to general urban public outdoor space. This broadly, but not fully, supports current theories concerning activities in public space. That is some environmental factors have impacts on the level of social interaction. The relationship between outdoor space and a residential building may have a significant impact on the level of social activities. As a consequence, a new classification of activities in public space is suggested. In improving the level of social contact in public outdoor space outside a residential community, the challenge is how to encourage people to leave their comfortable homes and spend a short time in these public spaces. For residential buildings and public space to be treated as an integrated whole, the outdoor open spaces close to and surrounding these buildings must have a more welcoming design.


community designsocial activitypublic spaceresidential communityBrisbane

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Design, Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia