Twelve Quality Criteria

Basic Information



Latest update



Application time


Assistance required


Tool type

Method / Approach

Application area

  • Data gathering

Target Audience

  • Small cities
  • Medium-sized cities
  • Large cities
  • Metropolitan regions


The Twelve Quality Criteria is a tool for researching how public spaces are experienced by their users. More specifically, it’s used to evaluate whether different features of a public space are protective, comfortable, and enjoyable for people spending time there.

The thinking behind these three categories is as follows:

1) without basic protection from cars, noise, rain, and wind, people will generally avoid spending time in a space;

2) without elements that make walking, using a wheelchair, standing, sitting, seeing, and conversing comfortable, a place won’t invite people to stay;

3) great public spaces tend to offer positive aesthetic and sensory experiences, take advantage of local climate, and provide human-scale elements so visitors don’t feel lost in their surroundings.

To use the tool, go to a public space and observe what’s there. Next, assign a positive, neutral, or negative value to each criteria under Protection, Comfort, and Enjoyment (more detailed directions are available on the worksheet itself). The results are always subjective, since they are based on the perceptions of surveyors in a particular public space. Therefore, the evaluation data is not meant to be compared quantitatively to surveys done in other places.

Gehl's public life tools are free for all to download, use, and remix to meet your project’s needs. You can download the tool from the link.


Gehl Institute

publiclife [at]

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of CINEA. Neither the European Union nor CINEA can be held responsible for them.

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