When the Shoe Fits
This happened to me twice already. I am crossing Nathan Phillips Square in front of the City Hall and suddenly my shoe gets stuck between the two concrete plates.
“The square, which sits atop one of the world’s largest underground parking garages is paved predominantly with two sizes of reinforced concrete slabs”, according to Wikipedia.
Because of the uneven spacing between those concrete slabs – from very narrow to very wide – your shoe will get stuck between them eventually, even if you are wearing different heels each time.
You’d think that whoever designed Nathan Phillips Square, known as a popular public gathering place, would think about the people, who use it every day. I am guessing that probably a third of those people would be professional females, working at the City Hall or at the nearby buildings.
The original square architect was Viljo Revell, who I am sure never wore high heels, and couldn’t relate to the problem that I am talking about.
Why is this such a big problem?
Well, not only because it’s inconvenient and damaging to the shoes. It’s also quite dangerous.
If your shoe gets stuck, while you walk, you’ll fall.
I was lucky that I was walking with a co-worker, who caught me in my fall the first time. I wasn’t so lucky the second time. I twisted my ankle pretty badly and almost hit my face on the pavement, when the whole heel of my shoe was swollen by the gap between the concrete plates.
Designing things with users in mind seems like such a simple concept. So why is it overlooked so often?
Here is an example of thoughtful design.