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Conceptualizing Public Space Using a Multiple Sorting Task–Exploring the Links between Loneliness and Public Space

1
School of Architecture and Built Environment, Division of Urban and Regional Studies, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Centre for the Future of Places, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(4), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3040107
Received: 8 November 2019 / Revised: 22 November 2019 / Accepted: 22 November 2019 / Published: 26 November 2019
This study tests the viability of multiple sorting tasks (MST) as a method to explore perceptions of public space and its potential for people that are vulnerable to loneliness. The procedure integrates qualitative and quantitative aspects and obviates the challenge of people articulating how they interact with their surroundings, especially being aware of what features of their environment are influencing them. Two samples, each with six participants of varying ages and backgrounds, viewed 20 photographs of public spaces in Stockholm. They sorted these into categories based upon the activities they anticipated would occur there. Within each sample, a multidimensional scaling procedure was used to reveal the underlying structure across the combination of the six responses. The results showed coherent structures with interesting variations between people. A set of general multi-purpose places are identified, with others being differentiated in terms of whether they were ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ and ‘open’ or ‘enclosed’. The study also found that people conceptualized public space differently when loneliness was the focus during the sorting process. An assemblage of public spaces relevant for loneliness is also illustrated. This demonstrates the utility of the MST and provides theoretical and practical implications for urban planning and design that addresses loneliness. View Full-Text
Keywords: public space; multiple sorting task; loneliness; social interaction; theory of place; environmental probabilism; urban planning; urban design public space; multiple sorting task; loneliness; social interaction; theory of place; environmental probabilism; urban planning; urban design
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jing, J.; Canter, D.; Haas, T. Conceptualizing Public Space Using a Multiple Sorting Task–Exploring the Links between Loneliness and Public Space. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 107. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3040107

AMA Style

Jing J, Canter D, Haas T. Conceptualizing Public Space Using a Multiple Sorting Task–Exploring the Links between Loneliness and Public Space. Urban Science. 2019; 3(4):107. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3040107

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jing, Jing; Canter, David; Haas, Tigran. 2019. "Conceptualizing Public Space Using a Multiple Sorting Task–Exploring the Links between Loneliness and Public Space" Urban Sci. 3, no. 4: 107. https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3040107

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