Photo credit: Flickr user Forgemind ArchiMedia.
If you’ve ever hired an architect to design a project, you probably spent a lot of time up front talking about the “program” for the project. The program describes how you want to use the space and the activities you want the space to support. If you are renovating a home (as I am currently), you might say, I want to make sure I have space that meets my needs for work I have to do at home or encourages me to do sit-ups when the mood strikes.
The same is true of the buildings and public spaces that make up a city. All of these places can be programmed to encourage and discourage certain behaviors.
Take, for instance, offices of the latest tech firms. They are all designed to encourage employees to meet and mingle serendipitously so that they share ideas. Co-working and incubator spaces are usually heavy on social areas, too.
Or take New York under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor passionately promoted the concept of “active design” to promote physical activity and health through design.