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



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Old August 27th, 2008, 09:05 PM   #61
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Arras, in northern France, has two main squares. Partly destroyed by German bombardment during WW1, but entirely restored. It takes a trained eye to differentiate both squares. I think public space in these two squares could be better organized (they still use them as car parks on some days of the week, when other European cities have long forbidden cars from parking on their historical squares).









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Last edited by brisavoine; August 27th, 2008 at 09:11 PM.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 03:35 PM   #62
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IMHO they should at least pedestrianize the smaller square of the two in front of what looks like the city hall.

In the Lower Austrian capital St. Pölten they have smaller squares but the city hall square had been pedestrianized about 10 years ago and adds a lot to the atmosphere of what is still known as industrial city. For the second major square there exist pedestrianisation plans for the near future.

That picture shows both. In green you have the existing pedestrian zone and in violet planned extensions.

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Old August 29th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #63
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Zagreb's main square

Jelacic Plac

[IMG]http://i18.************/2uf8r9u.jpg[/IMG]





and 2nd important square -The Flowers square

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Old August 29th, 2008, 07:42 PM   #64
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Lisbon
Rossio





Praça do Comércio





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Old August 30th, 2008, 02:02 AM   #65
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Plaza del Pilar, in Zaragoza, Aragón, Spain:



From one the western side:


From the Eastern side:
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Old August 30th, 2008, 02:42 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justme View Post
Actually, in many European cities, even the bigger ones, they build underground car parks beneath these big squares, at least if the metro hasn't got there first.

But it would be horrid to have surface parking on them. Nothing looks uglier in a central city than surface parking.
Yes you are right, Ive got my drivers licence but no car. I mostly associate cars as suburban or rural vechicles mostly used for shopping and deliveries and as the exception for people with odd commutes. These parking spaces seem to be a standard city project. Huge underground parking for a city. But what is the "input rate" is for many of these places. Many of them are surrounded by small city streets. Altough I can now think of many squares next to big streets right now. Something like routed inside a tunnel trough an urban motorway could work very well. I can think of at least one city building a central car tunnel which may or may not be linked to such a parking area. Very interesting.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 04:42 AM   #67
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san francisco is in the states and it has a square - it used to be mostly grass i think but was recently changed to being paved or non-grass - there is parking below





its really quite old for north amerian standards





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Old September 1st, 2008, 05:22 PM   #68
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Weird that nobody has mentioned the Grand Place in Brussels yet;

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Old September 1st, 2008, 09:22 PM   #69
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Madrid, Plaza Mayor. High Square.


Flickr. Guidacia


Madrid, Plaza Mayor. High Square.


Flickr. Josemazcona.


La Coruña (northwestern Spain). Plaza María Pita.




Salamanca (central Spain) Plaza Mayor. High square

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Old September 1st, 2008, 09:24 PM   #70
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Imagine, the gorgeous shopping malls that could use all of that useless space.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:00 PM   #71
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Imagine, the gorgeous shopping malls that could use all of that useless space.
Well, we're not Americans. There are more ways to enjoy life without having to go to a shopping mall. Shopping malls in the historic centre of the cities???? No way.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:57 PM   #72
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Quote:
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Imagine, the gorgeous shopping malls that could use all of that useless space.


Oh gosh, we're Europeans. We do not need that shit to enjoy our cities.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 01:17 AM   #73
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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?
In Europe, every town has its main square, a place to stay. In North America, every town has its main street, a place to cross. This is the key point to understand the difference in the way urbanity is considered from a continent to another.

North Americans will tell you that it's silly to not have a grid-layout in the city center because that's the fastest and most efficient system to go from any point of the city to another. Europeans don't care about getting from any point of the city to another, they want to go from any point of the city to a major district, and the central point of that district is very often a square, which means a place where everyone can meet.

This isn't simply about urbanity, it is also about the way the individuals interact with the society. Being free in the US means that we can do whatever we want of our lives without getting annoyed by the society. Being free in Europe means that we can do whatever we want of our lives within the society. This explains why, for instance, taxing rich people to give free healthcare to the poors is seen as a move towards freedom in Europe, whereas it's seen as a move against freedom in the US.

To go back to city considerations, as in Europe the more you belong to the heart of the society, the more you will accomplish something in your life, rich people want to live in city centres. On the other side, as in the US, the individual is supposed to emancipate from the society to accomplish himself, the rich people want to live in far away suburbs. This could be easily explained by the way freedom and democracy have been developped on both continents. The US was for original pilgrims the only place where they could live their faith without getting bothered. In Europe, democracy was the emancipation from serfdom, the ability for any man to become a citizen, someone involved at the heart of the society, what used to be priviledges of the nobility.

Last edited by Metropolitan; September 2nd, 2008 at 01:28 AM.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 01:07 PM   #74
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I like that post, excellent summation!
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 01:58 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TohrAlkimista View Post


Oh gosh, we're Europeans. We do not need that shit to enjoy our cities.
People never get my jokes.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:33 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metropolitan View Post
In Europe, every town has its main square, a place to stay. In North America, every town has its main street, a place to cross. This is the key point to understand the difference in the way urbanity is considered from a continent to another.

North Americans will tell you that it's silly to not have a grid-layout in the city center because that's the fastest and most efficient system to go from any point of the city to another. Europeans don't care about getting from any point of the city to another, they want to go from any point of the city to a major district, and the central point of that district is very often a square, which means a place where everyone can meet.

This isn't simply about urbanity, it is also about the way the individuals interact with the society. Being free in the US means that we can do whatever we want of our lives without getting annoyed by the society. Being free in Europe means that we can do whatever we want of our lives within the society. This explains why, for instance, taxing rich people to give free healthcare to the poors is seen as a move towards freedom in Europe, whereas it's seen as a move against freedom in the US.

To go back to city considerations, as in Europe the more you belong to the heart of the society, the more you will accomplish something in your life, rich people want to live in city centres. On the other side, as in the US, the individual is supposed to emancipate from the society to accomplish himself, the rich people want to live in far away suburbs. This could be easily explained by the way freedom and democracy have been developped on both continents. The US was for original pilgrims the only place where they could live their faith without getting bothered. In Europe, democracy was the emancipation from serfdom, the ability for any man to become a citizen, someone involved at the heart of the society, what used to be priviledges of the nobility.

I guess I don't understand the adoration for a big ol' piece of pavement or concrete in the middle of the city. In the U.S. we have squares, but they aren't these massive oceans of hard top with a monument sitting in the middle. They are much smaller spaces with built-in shade trees and grassy areas to compliment the pavement. Our huge meeting areas are usually city parks, which make much more sense to me than a big ol' piece of pavement or concrete, are more attractive, and are nearly always completely pedestrian.

parks
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2788645042/

image hosted on flickr
image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chuckonyiliogwu/251223248/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/hanneorla/86204971/

squares and plazas
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/paytonc/63811741/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hanneorla/86203299/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hanneorla/86204303/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hanneorla/86205843/

image hosted on flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattwilder/872171009/
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:39 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by WeimieLvr View Post
I guess I don't understand the adoration for a big ol' piece of pavement or concrete in the middle of the city. In the U.S. we have squares, but they aren't these massive oceans of hard top with a monument sitting in the middle. They are much smaller spaces with built-in shade trees and grassy areas to compliment the pavement. Our huge meeting areas are usually city parks, which make much more sense to me than a big ol' piece of pavement or concrete, are more attractive, and are nearly always completely pedestrian.
An American claiming that smaller = better? Now I've seen it all.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 03:49 PM   #78
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What about very old squares in Rome?

Piazza Navona is a city square in Rome, Italy. It follows the plan of an ancient Roman circus, the 1st century Stadium of Domitian, where the Romans came to watch the agones ("games"): It was known as 'Circus Agonalis' (competition arena). It is believed that over time the name changed to 'in agone' to 'navone' and eventually to 'navona'.



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Old September 2nd, 2008, 04:15 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Koen Acacia View Post
An American claiming that smaller = better? Now I've seen it all.
Maybe you can stop your silly stereotypes of Americans and any other groups that you label because you don't know any better...think that would be a good idea? I could have shown sarcastic surprise at the condescension coming from Europe, but apparently I'm not as small-minded as you.

I didn't say either was better or worse...just that squares and plazas in the U.S. are typically smaller and greener...and that parks are usually the larger meeting spaces.

Last edited by WeimieLvr; September 2nd, 2008 at 04:22 PM.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 04:24 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeimieLvr View Post
I guess I don't understand the adoration for a big ol' piece of pavement or concrete in the middle of the city. In the U.S. we have squares, but they aren't these massive oceans of hard top with a monument sitting in the middle. They are much smaller spaces with built-in shade trees and grassy areas to compliment the pavement. Our huge meeting areas are usually city parks, which make much more sense to me than a big ol' piece of pavement or concrete, are more attractive, and are nearly always completely pedestrian.
European cities have parks too, they serve a different function. Paved squares can be some of the most attractive areas in a city, I don't see anything wrong with them, in fact they are often used for concerts, markets, exhibitions etc
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