Measuring Public Domain Success Research Project

The Place Leaders Association (PLA) commissioned Griffith University’s Urban Research Program to develop a discussion paper on measuring public domain success.

The primary purpose of the report was to propose indicators and identify benchmarks to assist PLA members in their place-making and place-managing roles. This objective, in turn, serves the PLA’s mandate to provide opportunities to bring together groups of like-minded, innovative thinkers to share their techniques and strategies with other members, with a view to continual improvement.

In order to offer meaningful input regarding the creation and maintenance of successful public domains, as well as suggest effective measurements for public domain performance over time, this report first spends time defining and contextualising the integral concepts of:

  • The changing role of cities
  • The significance of ‘place capital’
  • The value of local comparative advantage in a global economy
  • The public domain as connective social and economic space
  • The purpose and value of exchange within the public domain
  • The types of exchange (ideas, human interaction, goods and services) in the public domain
  • The distinction between public domain providers and public domain users with respect to measurement outcomes.

The research outlines the qualities that contribute to successful places and the key principles of their planning and design. These can be summarised as incorporating:

  • Character
  • Continuity and enclosure
  • Quality of the public realm (e.g. safety, aesthetics)
  • Ease of movement
  • Legibility
  • Adaptability
  • Diversity

Current methods of assessing the public domain are also outlined, and the difficulty of comparing one place with another is highlighted. The report emphasises internal evaluation of the public domain of each place as a far more effective and meaningful measurement for ongoing improvement than comparisons with other public spaces.

The practical heart of the report addresses the effective measurement of public domain performance. This final section tables the various types of exchange in detail, provides examples of the supporting place elements, and suggests possible measures and potential survey questions. In addition, a case study methodology for assessing public domains is outlined.

If you’re interested in accessing this research report in its entirety (fee applies for non Members and Affiliate Members), or in finding out about other Place Leaders Association research reports relevant to your business or study, please contact us at pla@placeleaders.com

Joining the Place Leaders Association gives you special access to the shared learning of our entire membership base and connects you to like-minded organisations with a focus on optimising place making and place management for economic, environmental and social responsibility and sustainability. To find out more, please call us on +61 02 9252 1544.