The Application of Minimalist Philosophy in Public Space Design

This research builds on three main contexts of the recent decade. Firstly, there is a recognition that the contemporary world is becoming increasingly complex, accompanied by an overload of sensory inputs (e.g. noise, pollution, disruption) that can lead to negative consequences. Secondly, the impact of aesthetic quality on human well-being and behaviour is recognised, with many urban design agendas and guidelines outlining the importance of aesthetically attractive public spaces. Thirdly, the crisis of over-consumption of resources and sustainability is receiving increasing attention. As a result, the philosophy of minimalism, increasingly seen as a solution for private interior spaces, promises to be explored as a remedy for urban complexity, aiming to enhance the aesthetic quality of outdoor public spaces and pursue sustainable development.

Minimalism is often referred to as a design style characterised by extreme simplicity in form, materials and means of production. The concept of minimalism is widely used in art, architecture, interior design and, more recently, as a fashionable lifestyle. However, the concept and philosophy of minimalism remains unexplored in the field of urban design. This study therefore seeks to find a link between minimalism and urban design in order to explore the potentials of future public space design.

This research addresses three questions to explore the potential of minimalism in both public space design thinking and practice. 1) What is the relevance of minimalist philosophy to public space design; 2) How can the principles of minimalism be applied in public space; and 3) What are the implications of minimalist public space design. A mixed methodology was adopted to include site analysis, observation, interviews, surveys and walking method. The findings are expected to provide a new way of thinking and a practical toolkit for future public space to achieve aesthetic, sustainable and resilient goals in the complex world.