Historical studies have suggested that the design and programming of street edges can either draw people or repel them. But can design change the way we treat each other?
Our partner, Futurewise, saw this as a crucial question for Seattle and other cities redeveloping their core neighborhoods. Together we created a unique program combining surveys and social interventions to test expressions of altruism and kindness among pedestrians. We found a remarkable relationship between street edges, building facades and pro-social behaviour. The results suggest it may be possible to build altruism into urban form.