Announcing the Public Life Tools

Check out the newly released tools for investigating public space and public life in the form of free, downloadable worksheets.

These tools are based on decades of public life research, beginning with that of renowned Danish urbanist Jan Gehl and further honed by the Gehl practice. Earlier versions have been used to shape design, policy, and masterplanning projects in hundreds of cities across the world. By sharing these methods with a wider audience, more people can incorporate public life data into their work, making our communities more vibrant and accessible.

Head to the new public life tools section of our website, where you can:

  • Learn about and download tool templates
  • Take a quiz to find out which tools make sense for your project
  • Download a guide on how to carry out a comprehensive survey of public space
  • Read stories about the tools in action

Each tool comes with a description and instructions. We’ve included a longer guide with step-by-step directions to help organize comprehensive surveys of public space. The categories that each tool measures are in line with the broader Public Life Data Protocol. Of course, there is no single approach to measuring the quality of public life. Our tools can complement existing strategies for studying and telling stories about the spaces you care about.

We want your feedback so we can continue to evolve the tools. They are meant to be used by or in collaboration with community partners, and can be utilized as a teaching tool or incorporated into robust community engagement strategies. For example, if you want to know what neighborhood residents think of a local park, tour the site and ask them to rank different spaces according to the 12 Quality Criteria. If you think of new and exciting ways to use the tools, let us know.

Download the press release here.