Making Places for People: 12 Questions Every Designer Should Ask, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Making Places for People

12 Questions Every Designer Should Ask, 1st Edition

By Christie Johnson Coffin, Jenny Young


226 pages

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pub: 2017-01-19
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** Honorable Mention at the 2019 ERDA Great Places Awards **

Making Places for People explores twelve social questions in environmental design. Authors Christie Johnson Coffin and Jenny Young bring perspectives from practice and teaching to challenge assumptions about how places meet human needs. The book reveals deeper complexities in addressing basic questions, such as: What is the story of this place? What logic orders it? How big is it? How sustainable is it? Providing an overview of a growing body of knowledge about people and places, Making Places for People stimulates curiosity and further discussion. The authors argue that critical understanding of the relationships between people and their built environments can inspire designs that better contribute to health, human performance, and social equity—bringing meaning and delight to people’s lives.


'Creating environments that enable a diverse cross-section of people to thrive requires attention to human psychological and behavioral processes and physical needs. By expounding on twelve key design-focused questions, Making Places for People weaves a narrative of environmental design theory and techniques to enrich human experience, while referencing important works of architecture and planning from around the world. The book provides a framework for understanding how well designed built form can support healthy communities and foster human well-being.' - Dr. Lynne M. Dearborn, AIA, Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

'A great many architecture books present lavishly illustrated cases of completed projects without explaining in text what questions the projects addressed or how particular human needs were fulfilled. Christie Coffin and Jenny Young take a very different, welcome approach. In reply to a series of key questions they pose about people and architecture, in easily readable text with a few evocative images, they tell the stories of diverse places and projects that will inspire students, professionals and clients to discover their own answers.' - Karen A. Franck, Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology and author of Design through Dialogue and Architecture from the Inside Out

'The jury was impressed by the book’s use of case studies to wisely illustrate the book’s thesis. They found the examples easy to understand and made a great addition to your explanations. Deliberations noted your book offers a fresh and exciting perspective to design practice and the application of design principles. Jury members agreed it makes a great addition to a design library.' - Mallika Bose, Coordinator, 2018 Great Places Awards, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Penn State

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction 1. What is the story of this place? 2. Whose place is this? 3. Where is this place? 4. How big is this place? 5. What logic orders this place? 6. Does this place balance community and privacy? 7. What makes this place useful? 8. Does this place support health? 9. What makes this place sustainable? 10. Who likes this place? 11. What evidence is there that this place will work? 12. Does this place foster social equity? Afterword Bibliography Index

About the Authors


Jenny Young

Eugene, Oregon, United States of America

Learn more about Jenny Young >>

Christie Johnson Coffin practices architecture in the Western United States and internationally in Taiwan, India, and Nicaragua, with a focus on social design for health-care and research laboratory buildings. Her university teaching includes the University of California, Berkeley, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Polytechnic University, and the University of Oregon. She is the co-author of Changing Hospital Environments for Children.

Jenny Young teaches design and human factors in design. Her research on small town development focuses on the roles public buildings play in town stability and vitality. Her architectural practice includes consulting on schools, libraries, clinics, and designing residential projects. She is Professor of Architecture at the University of Oregon.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation
ARCHITECTURE / Interior Design / General
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
ARCHITECTURE / Professional Practice
ARCHITECTURE / Sustainability & Green Design