the spindus handbook for spatial quality
ruth segers
Hardly any concept is as intangible as spatial quality. Especially when considering the ‘making of space’. Many people are convinced of its importance. Witness references to ‘livability’, ‘genius loci’, environmental quality, good spatial planning and more. Different users of space also have different visions about what exactly it is that makes a particular organisation of space qualitative.

The research project SPINDUS – initiated by three universities and partners from practice – took spatial quality as a research subject. It drew from three spatial disciplines – urbanism, spatial planning and social innovation in territorial development – but also involved anthropology, sociology and ecology. SPINDUS constructed a ‘meta-frame’ offering a multi-dimensional and relational perspective on spatial quality. In this meta-frame, the focus is put on users of space, including their contradictions, interests and conflicts. Concurrently the frame not only deals with material and esthetic aspects of space, but also with social, political and cultural aspects.

SPINDUS resulted in The Handbook for Spatial Quality. This handbook bundles practical methods for analysing, evaluating and improving spatial quality. It describes a diversity of methods: design based, ethnographic, planning driven, social, research oriented etc. The handbook contextualises these methods in Flemish, English, Italian and Kenian case-studies, which have been selected and analysed with stakeholders. Learning processes with users of space and jointly defi ning of spatial qualities play major roles in each of these methods.

Given the importance of the relational perspective, this handbook aims at a diverse public of policymakers, designers, urbanists, spatial planners, social workers, sociologists, residents, academics, students… and in fact everybody committed to spatial quality.