A Summary of 30 Years of Jan Gehl's Research On How People Of All Ages Meet — Play — Socialize

Gehl research shows the following meeting — playing — socializing process/pattern occurs in all urban neighborhood streets (in the western world) - when the correct house/street environment exists. Very little or nothing happens when a poor environment exists - except for break-ins or vandalism. It becomes obvious that we rely on our vision for feedback on our environment. It's our best developed sense (except when looking down from more than 50 feet).

The Process/Pattern — The Steps For All Ages

1] I need someone to talk to - play with - socialize with.

2] I go to the front of the house and look out the window onto the ‘street’ — anyone out there that I am interested in talking to/socializing/playing with?

3] If there is I will go to the front door, open it, stand in doorway and catch the attention of the person out on the ‘street’ and sense if they want to talk/socialize/play with me.

4] If I sense person is interested in me, I’ll move out onto the porch with my back against the front wall of the house (The Edge).

5] I start talking to other person - then if I am fairly sure other person is interested in me, I’ll go onto the front lawn or path leading to sidewalk -the other person comes closer, likely to stand on sidewalk close to me (my front lawn is Semi-Public space, I am still pretty ‘safe’ although not as ‘safe’ as on ‘The Edge’

6] We chit -chat for a bit - if chatting continues, usually I invite other person onto porch or into house or .. or ... or...

If I don’t see anyone outside that I am interested in - I’ll risk going outside to ‘The Edge’ - if I really need ‘it’ I’ll go out onto front lawn (Semi-Public Space) or if I really really need it I'll go down to the Public Space - the sidewalk or the road- I’m then called ‘The Presenter’ - I’m saying non-verbally - anyone want to play/socialize/talk with me? -yohoo I’m here. A lot of snowshovelling, gardening, ball playing etc. at the front of the house is ‘Presenting’.

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Thousand Islands Institute - The Independent Centre For Housing Research & Education