A Building Facade Activation Survey is a tool for assessing the vibrancy of buildings and storefronts from a human-scale perspective. You might use this tool to better understand why a street does or doesn’t attract people to spend time in public.
The activation of a building facade and the number of entrances to a building is a strong predictor of when people will slow down and engage in activities rather than simply pass by. An active building facade presents opportunities for strangers to meet and mix, and provides an attraction for different types of people.
To use this tool, walk along a street and rank building facades on a scale of vibrant to inactive based on the qualities of the building facade itself. Quality is ranked according to transparency of windows and doors, unit width, number of doors, articulation of the building facade, and whether it invites ‘spillover’ onto the sidewalk in the form of signage, seating, and other exterior furnishings. Building facade quality can be an important precondition to creating places that invite all types of people and encourages social mixing.
Don’t forget: print this tool double-sided! It is meant to be folded into a booklet.
Our public life tools are free for all to download, use, and remix to meet your project’s needs. If you use this tool, we would love to hear from you!