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green streets
thoughts, ideas + dialogues on urban revitalization, smart growth + neighborhood development
Curated by Lauren Moss
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10 Principles for Successful Squares | Project for Public Spaces

10 Principles for Successful Squares | Project for Public Spaces | green streets |

Squares have been a core focus of PPS beginning with our first project 30 years ago–Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens.

We’ve honed the ten principles below based on the hundreds of squares–the good and the bad–that we’ve analyzed and observed since then. What stands out most is that design is only a small fraction of what goes into making a great square. To really succeed, a square must take into account a host of factors that extend beyond its physical dimensions:

1. Image and Identity

2. Attractions and Destinations

3. Amenities

4. Flexible Design

5. Seasonal Strategy

6. Access

7. The Inner Square & the Outer Square

8. Reaching Out

9. The Central Role of Management

10. Diverse Funding Sources


For detailed descriptions and examples of the 10 factors listed above, check out the link for the complete article...

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Remember the Edges! Placemaking for Communities

Remember the Edges!  Placemaking for Communities | green streets |

One of the key principles to remember when trying to create a great public square is that the inner square and outer square must work together. Active edges (sidewalk cafes, museums, shops) feed into the center; in turn, a lively scene at the heart of a square creates a buzz that draws more people to the area, generating more activity for edge uses. It’s symbiotic!

The video above illustrates this principle using imagery from our study of Alamo Plaza in San Antonio, Texas. Home to one of the most iconic buildings in America, the plaza itself is more of a place to stand for a photo op than a place where people linger and enjoy. As you can see, creating a sense of connection and flow between the inner and outer square is key to success.

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