Exploring Attributes of Public Open Spaces through Users’ Perceptions at Lakefront Spaces of Nagpur City
What qualifies as urban public space? What are the attributes that essentially outline an urban public space? Answers to these questions are multifarious as the urban setting is a complex and critical phenomenon especially in developing countries since it constitutes diverse factors of influences that have arisen due to lack of appropriate urban design and planning strategies which results in degradation of the urban environment and subsequently the quality of urban life. The problem needs to be addressed with sensitivity to space as well as the people, its main users. Hence it becomes imperative to study such urban public spaces in developing countries with anaim of seeking insight into peoples’ perceptions of the present development of such public spaces in order to enhance the quality of urban public spaces.
Accordingly, this paper attempts to explore some of the attributes of urban public spaces in the form of lakefront spaces in the specific territorial context of Nagpur, a Tier II city of India, as perceived by the users with an objective of understanding the varied viewpoints of the public regarding present development. The paper adopts a qualitative approach for understanding people’s perception of such spaces supported by questionnaire survey, walking interviews and onsite observations regarding four key attributes of successful public spaces namely, uses and activities, access and linkages, comfort and image and sociability. The study outcome suggests meaningful directions towards the design and development of lakefront spaces which will assist in achieving better urban public spaces. The study also proposes a framework for perception studies of lakefront spaces.