In the process of re-urbanising our cities to be more suited for people, public spaces have become a key component of many regeneration and redevelopment schemes. Active public spaces are a vital ingredient for liveable cities, thriving economy and socially cohesive society. To improve the quality of public space design, place-making principles of human-centred design and stakeholder engagement are increasingly being advocated. There are many place-making design guidelines and books on how to design spaces that are meaningful, adaptable and well-used. However, something doesn’t seem to be working. Shopping streets are continually redeveloped to re-invigorate them and initially popular shiny new public spaces turn into places-less spaces after a few years, despite including everything communities have requested? What is it that we are missing when designing public realm, and how can we design better public spaces?