2 Positive space
Positive space depends on the density of Strong centers in the space.
Outdoor space is positive when it is shaped, just as a room is shaped. It has a contained character; it is bounded by walls, trees, fences, natural vegetation, enclosure of some kind. It looks into other positive spaces, some larger, some smaller.
When space is positive, passing through it one moves from space to space, as if one were moving through a series of rooms. Each space, individually, is a strong center, each one has a boundary, one feels its heart, its substance; and one passes from one of these strong centers, to the next, as one moves around and through the space.
This is entirely different from the space of present-day America — where a loose aggregation of parking lots, asphalt, wide roads, yards without significant meaning and therefore without significant boundaries, causes an amorphous substance to exist.
Belonging in public spaces
One of the most vital things in the creation of positive space in the city, and in the creation of hulls of public space, is that people enjoy themselves, that the space is active, emotionally — so that people feel happy there, want to be there, and feel that it genuinely belongs to them, as if it were — indeed — a public living room to which they all belong.
I wonder why we tend to treat the equivalent digital public spaces — social media like Twitter for instance — with a lot less care. Perhaps it is because we don’t feel like they genuinely belong to us, because they are services that are provided to us primarily to make money off of our data by selling us things?
Open source, or the collective work on a public digital good rather (Wikipedia comes to mind), seems to create such a strong feeling of belonging.
Black and white plan drawings
When we look at a place which has positive space, if we see the plan in which space is drawn white, and the rest black, then the white spaces have a feeling almost as if they are carved out, literally, from the solid rock, like a series of caves, connected by tunnels.
When we reverse the black and white, we see the spaces black, and the buildings white; now, when it is good, the space looks almost like a series of buildings or halls, connected to passages.
The 15 properties appear
As the formation of positive space matures, all these properties appear, and the space slowly gets its living character, just as buildings and objects can have. It is this living space, endowed with the properties, endowed therefore with living centers, that forms the effective and useful hull of urban space, to support society.
#book/The Nature of Order/3 A Vision of a Living World/3 The hulls of public space#