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In Search of Sociable Squares From a Human and Placemaking Perspective: Analyzing the Relationship between Built Environments and Social Life in Two Stockholm Squares: Norrmalmstorg & Nytorget
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Our societies are changing towards more privatization and exclusion; issues of social life in public spaces and the relation of urban form vis-à-vis social life has not been given too much attention in urban planning and design, especially including issues of environmental psychology. However, the importance of public life is not deniable. High qualified public spaces are prerequisite for cities to become further inviting and more sustainable. This thesis raises the questions of if our public places are created by their physical setting or by social relation. It addresses the socio-physical characteristics of public spaces (squares) from human perspective. The aim of the work is to understand how it might be possible to improve social life and behavior in public spaces, where not only the center of attraction are the people but also the urban form that surrounds it. The study investigates sociability of the two squares in Stockholm, Norrmalmstorg and Nytorget, and analysis the contribution of physical and social attributes in creating sense of place and enriching social behavior. It draws from theories about environmental psychology, place identity and sense of place, likewise socio-physical elements of public spaces. Qualitative approach has been applied for data collection of case studies through combination of empirical methods such as observation, interviews and conceptual mapping. Through analysis of results, it is argued that strong sense of community at Nytorget is the consequence of people’s involvement in urban environment; whereas the lack of people’s engagement in urban setting at Norrmalmstorg, which is the result of place identity, affects the sense of attachment and social interaction in the square accordingly. The thesis debates that it is crucial to evaluate sociability of an urban environment by initiating human perspective and revealing the relationship between physical attributes and social activities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 80 p.
SoM EX, 2012-49
Keyword [en]
public space, environmental psychology, place identity, social interaction, built environment, human perspective, Norrmalmstorg, Nytorget
National Category
Engineering and Technology Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-116484OAI: diva2:589901
Subject / course
Regional Planning
Educational program
Degree of Master - Sustainable Urban Planning and Design
2012-12-14, KTH, Stockholm, 08:00 (English)
Urban Form and Social Behaviour Research Project
Available from: 2013-02-06 Created: 2013-01-20 Last updated: 2013-02-06Bibliographically approved

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