On January 24th, Street Plans implemented a day-long public space experiment and intervention along the waterfront in Downtown West Palm Beach. The project was funded by the Van Alen Institute and was conducted in collaboration with the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency‘s Shore to Core Initiative. The experiment was led by Happy City‘s Charles Montgomery, and in collaboration with University of Virginia Center for Design and Health‘s Dr. Jennifer Roe, PhD, Space Syntax and supported by an intervention led by Street Plans.
The project team transformed a sparse and underutilized public space along the waterfront promenade for one day. Using theories from environmental psychology, the design was meant to create feelings of fascination and a sense of exoticism from everyday life. Art, plants, and historical images focused people’s attention on the water and its history. The team then measured the effects those interventions created on visitors’ emotions, bodies, and behavior.
“The intervention actually caused a change in people’s behavior. This restorative environment induced people to spend more time at the site. The number of people observed in stationary activities at the site increased more than fivefold during the intervention. This is exactly what we need to see if we want to bring life to underperforming public space” says Street Plans’ own Sherryl Muriente.