daily menu » rate the banner | guess the city | one on oneforums map | privacy policy | DMCA | news magazine | posting guidelines

Go Back   SkyscraperCity > World Forums > Architecture > Public Space

Public Space Squares, parks and other public areas in the city



Global Announcement

As a general reminder, please respect others and respect copyrights. Go here to familiarize yourself with our posting policy.


Reply

 
Thread Tools
Old August 20th, 2008, 01:44 AM   #1
plcmat
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 110
Likes (Received): 0

Huge paved squares in Europe

While browsing many of the European city photo threads, I've noticed that many Continental European cities have huge, paved, pedestrian only squares.

I am guessing at some point these areas served an important function as meeting places, but now when I see them in pictures most of them are strikingly empty. In an area as space-starved as Europe, one would think some of these areas would be either partially developed, or made into greenspace, or something, instead of a huge patch of concrete mostly unused.

Europeans, can you explain this concept to an American who doesn't get it?
plcmat no está en línea   Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links
Old August 20th, 2008, 02:08 AM   #2
the spliff fairy
ONE WORLD
 
the spliff fairy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: london
Posts: 7,994
Likes (Received): 6239

any examples? All the public squares I can think of are busy places.
the spliff fairy no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 02:09 AM   #3
Wuppeltje
Registered User
 
Wuppeltje's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Amsterdam
Posts: 5,839
Likes (Received): 965

Many squares lost their function as meeting places. Some squares are very busy, others less. They are however all very useful for certain events.
__________________
Volg de Noord/Zuidlijn op Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram en Flickr
Wuppeltje está en línea ahora   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 02:50 AM   #4
PedroGabriel
BANNED
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Póvoa de Varzim
Posts: 5,845
Likes (Received): 2

in my city squares are very popular... and not empty at all. squares are used to distribute people around the city, as a meeting place, where there's esplanades, old people resting, children playing, and young adults having a drink or dating. In here, squares are very important, and is one of the city's issues, we need more wider squares, my city plans to create a new beach square in 2010. the southern beach square is very popular, and now we need another for the north area.
PedroGabriel no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 03:32 AM   #5
El_Greco
Épater la Bourgeoisie
 
El_Greco's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: London/Taipei
Posts: 19,307
Likes (Received): 8164

In London squares are extremely popular with...........drivers.Unfortunately.
__________________
My Travels : Barcelona|Edinburgh|Glasgow|London|Madrid|New York|Paris|Taipei|Vilnius
El_Greco está en línea ahora   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 03:33 AM   #6
Republica
BUND
 
Republica's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 4,036
Likes (Received): 3

Public squares, plaza's and piazza's are great. This is one in Nottingham UK which is always packed, theres always something going on. You couldnt be more wrong!





__________________
Rant
Republica no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 03:38 AM   #7
philadweller
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,281
Likes (Received): 16

I call them Piazzas. I'm surprised that being a Bostonian you haven't brought up Copley Square, Post Office Square or Government Center.

Europe is much older than America. Squares in Europe were used for executions at one time long before it became a big outdoor living room. American planners are more concerned with what cars are doing instead of people. Unless the city was built long before the automobile like Northeastern US cities and San Francisco one will have a hard time finding these squares over here.

Basically automobiles are to blame for America's lack of squares.
philadweller no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 04:05 AM   #8
WeimieLvr
Love me, love my dog...
 
WeimieLvr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 3,085
Likes (Received): 420

Quote:
Originally Posted by Republica View Post
Public squares, plaza's and piazza's are great. This is one in Nottingham UK which is always packed, theres always something going on. You couldnt be more wrong!

It seems like you would want to present a photo that backs up your statements...this is packed? Some European squares are very busy, and some are very quiet. I think the question raised might be, "Have squares in Europe outlived their purpose?".


Quote:
Europe is much older than America. Squares in Europe were used for executions at one time long before it became a big outdoor living room. American planners are more concerned with what cars are doing instead of people. Unless the city was built long before the automobile like Northeastern US cities and San Francisco one will have a hard time finding these squares over here.
It is a known fact that are plenty of U.S. cities outside of the Northeast and San Francisco that were thriving and significant BEFORE the automobile...but we've had that debate before.
WeimieLvr no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 04:14 AM   #9
the spliff fairy
ONE WORLD
 
the spliff fairy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: london
Posts: 7,994
Likes (Received): 6239

outlived their purpose? No way, theyre too busy if anything, and increasing. London Trafalgar Square was recently rid of its traffic on one side because of the crowds, there are similar pedestrianisation plans for Parliament Square, theyre building new ones too in the new centres of Stratford, Elephant & Castle and Canary Wharf. Places like Covent Garden and Leicester Square are full to capacity, the council is even trying to close some businesses down for the crowds and banning busking that makes people stand for periods of time. That's London at least, and definitely in UKs cities as a whole, though Ive seen the same in every European city Ive been to. The fact new ones are still being built goes to show the commercial (over)success of the schemes. Almost every town has a main square, and theyre almost always busy because thats where the prime shops have to relocate to (the higher the prestige=the higher the rent=the big business shops that can afford it).

Piccadilly Circus




Trafalgar Square





Leicester Square


...another point. Have you seen this for real? You do realise alot of photography for urban spaces are taken early morning to cut out the crowds? Maybe that's it.

The other thing about European Squares is that theyre usually metro hubs (Piccadilly):



The other thing is the use of them for rallies and festivals (Trafalagar Square has one every weekend, its 'booked' solid for years)




Last edited by the spliff fairy; August 20th, 2008 at 04:50 AM.
the spliff fairy no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 04:15 AM   #10
philadweller
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,281
Likes (Received): 16

Atlanta is pre-auto too but the fire ravaged much of the city's earliest structures...and yes you are right. Detroit and Chicago along with New Orleans and and many cities east of the Mississippi were well developed before the auto.
philadweller no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 04:38 AM   #11
El_Greco
Épater la Bourgeoisie
 
El_Greco's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: London/Taipei
Posts: 19,307
Likes (Received): 8164

Quote:
Originally Posted by the spliff fairy View Post
there are similar pedestrianisation plans for Parliament Square,
Not anymore!Our dear mayor Boris scrapped those plans aswell as pedestrianization of Embankment.
__________________
My Travels : Barcelona|Edinburgh|Glasgow|London|Madrid|New York|Paris|Taipei|Vilnius
El_Greco está en línea ahora   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 05:21 AM   #12
plcmat
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 110
Likes (Received): 0

Quote:
Originally Posted by the spliff fairy View Post
outlived their purpose? No way, theyre too busy if anything, and increasing. London Trafalgar Square was recently rid of its traffic on one side because of the crowds, there are similar pedestrianisation plans for Parliament Square, theyre building new ones too in the new centres of Stratford, Elephant & Castle and Canary Wharf. Places like Covent Garden and Leicester Square are full to capacity, the council is even trying to close some businesses down for the crowds and banning busking that makes people stand for periods of time. That's London at least, and definitely in UKs cities as a whole, though Ive seen the same in every European city Ive been to. The fact new ones are still being built goes to show the commercial (over)success of the schemes. Almost every town has a main square, and theyre almost always busy because thats where the prime shops have to relocate to (the higher the prestige=the higher the rent=the big business shops that can afford it).

...another point. Have you seen this for real? You do realise alot of photography for urban spaces are taken early morning to cut out the crowds? Maybe that's it.

The other thing about European Squares is that theyre usually metro hubs (Piccadilly):



The other thing is the use of them for rallies and festivals (Trafalagar Square has one every weekend, its 'booked' solid for years)
I've been to London and seen the crowded squares, which is why I said Continental Europe. I am thinking of recent threads of German and Polish cities, and more recently, pictures of Vilnius which showed lots of squares and few people.
plcmat no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 05:25 AM   #13
plcmat
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 110
Likes (Received): 0

Quote:
Originally Posted by philadweller View Post
I call them Piazzas. I'm surprised that being a Bostonian you haven't brought up Copley Square, Post Office Square or Government Center.

Europe is much older than America. Squares in Europe were used for executions at one time long before it became a big outdoor living room. American planners are more concerned with what cars are doing instead of people. Unless the city was built long before the automobile like Northeastern US cities and San Francisco one will have a hard time finding these squares over here.

Basically automobiles are to blame for America's lack of squares.
I'm not sure the automobile is to blame as much as modern life and communication technologies have made the need for them somewhat obsolete. Where they used to serve an official purpose now they are mostly for fun, and most American cities have greenspace (such as the Esplanade in Boston) to use for that.

As for Boston, Post Office Square is a postage stamp and is mostly grass, Government Center is a prime example of failed urban design due to its bleakness and irregular shape, and Copley Square is partially green and not that big, but probably the closest example.
plcmat no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 05:48 AM   #14
tocoto
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 180
Likes (Received): 0

Copley Square Boston circa 1985 (from archboston)

tocoto no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 06:00 AM   #15
edubejar
Registered User
 
edubejar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,375
Likes (Received): 30

Quote:
Originally Posted by plcmat View Post
While browsing many of the European city photo threads, I've noticed that many Continental European cities have huge, paved, pedestrian only squares.

I am guessing at some point these areas served an important function as meeting places, but now when I see them in pictures most of them are strikingly empty. In an area as space-starved as Europe, one would think some of these areas would be either partially developed, or made into greenspace, or something, instead of a huge patch of concrete mostly unused.

Europeans, can you explain this concept to an American who doesn't get it?
Many pedestrian squares are used for numerous cultural events that take place only once a year on a given month, flower or fruit markets, and sometimes political assemblies, etc. They can't really be turned into greenspaces because it's precisely the lack of space that needs to keep them paved. However, you do have squares that are parks in some cities as well. In Paris, Place des Vosges is an English-style square with grass and flowers where people lie down and picnic. But I can't imagine Madrid's Puerta del Sol with grass. That's jammed pack with people always. Plaza Mayor is not as popular but certainly busy. Plaza Chueca is the gay plaza and there is no way that is getting vegetation. I suppose truly unused squares can be turned into park space.
edubejar no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 06:15 AM   #16
edubejar
Registered User
 
edubejar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,375
Likes (Received): 30

I guess there are different types of squares with various degrees of pavement.

Lyon, France

Place Carnot
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=...cl=1&encType=1

Place Bellecour
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=...cl=1&encType=1

Place Terreaux (you can see a market or fair is taking place
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=...cl=1&encType=1

Place Lyauté (mostly park space)
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=...cl=1&encType=1
edubejar no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 06:43 AM   #17
plcmat
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 110
Likes (Received): 0

Interesting - maybe I only notice them if they are empty.

Thanks for the info everyone.
plcmat no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 07:01 AM   #18
koolkid
Registered User
 
koolkid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 2,327
Likes (Received): 133

We have Union Square over here in NY and it's packed from day to night. It's mostly covered by park space though. It's still serves as a place to meet up with people and theres even some sort of market that takes place on weekends aswell as other events such as marches, pillow fights and what not...
__________________
My New York by Krzycho
koolkid no está en línea   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 08:56 AM   #19
Svartmetall
Ordo Ab Chao
 
Svartmetall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Past: Northampton, UK (19 years), Auckland NZ (7 years), Now: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 14,059
Likes (Received): 8679

Quote:
Originally Posted by plcmat View Post
Interesting - maybe I only notice them if they are empty.

Thanks for the info everyone.
As stated by another forumer, many photos for SSC are taken early morning as to avoid crowds as they can take away the focus of the photograph. Until you have experienced some of these squares in person you can't appreciate just how busy then can get!

European city squares are some of my favourite places in the various cities. I don't think I'd like German cities quite as much if they started to get rid of their various "platz" in each of their cities, nor French cities without their squares.
Svartmetall está en línea ahora   Reply With Quote
Old August 20th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #20
the spliff fairy
ONE WORLD
 
the spliff fairy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: london
Posts: 7,994
Likes (Received): 6239

I think E European squares are very busy too, so far as Ive seen (in real), as opposed to just photos:

Old Town Warsaw, (early morning)


Gdansk
image hosted on flickr


Krakow




Prague




Budapest


Cologne




Frankfurt
[img][/img]

Hamburg




Bratislava


Ljubljana




Athens


the spliff fairy no está en línea   Reply With Quote


Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Related topics on SkyscraperCity


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 12:04 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

SkyscraperCity ☆ In Urbanity We trust ☆ about us | privacy policy | DMCA policy

Hosted by Blacksun, dedicated to this site too!
Forum server management by DaiTengu