How might a market measure this same idea?
Should we consider universal design choices that all markets could share that define farmers markets as a significant community space?
Visitors reported feeling 40% happier at the rainbow intersection than they did at a standard intersection a block away, and they were 60% more likely to want to meet friends there. They also believed that if they lost their wallet there, they were much more likely to get it back if a stranger found it.
Unique, trust-building places may also boost kindness. In an experiment Happy City conducted in Seattle, we discovered that pedestrians were actually kinder to strangers on streets when the sidewalks and building facades exhibited more detail and local character. We sent out actors posing as helpless tourists to different kinds of environments and watched to see how pedestrians treated them. On street edges with more small local shops and services, passers-by were more likely to stop and offer help than in nearby spaces lined with anonymous blank walls.
For years, public-space designers have measured their success primarily by measuring the number of people who linger in the places they create. Now we are beginning to see that public design influences our feelings and the way we treat other people, too. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface on the link between place-making and social trust.