As I’ve stated in my previous articles, public spaces are an important aspect of a city. It gives people a reason to rest, travel, take time off their busy schedules and escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy traffic on the roads. This article will focus on 5 public spaces around the world that are well-known and make the best use of their public space while also creating a landmark for the city they are located in.
Here are the five well-known public spaces other cities can emulate
1) Covent Garden, London – Covent Garden is a neighborhood and a pedestrianized market and public space that gives people a lot of options to explore many different things including performances, theatre, food and drinks with bustling cafes, giving people a lot of options to experience the city and what it has to offer. This is a different kind of space from Trafalgar Square which is the main public space in London City. Covent Garden offers more sightseeing and experience with a wide variety for both tourists and locals. Although it is not cheap, it is one of the best attractions London has to offer.
2) The High Line, New York City – The High Line is a modern example of public space which is located in New York City located on top of an abandoned railway station. It’s almost 3 kilometers in length and is very friendly to people to walk about and have a look at the New York skyline. It is very green with many plants and vegetation surrounding the park. High Line is also dotted with some sculptures and has a water fountain during summer months where people can rest their feet and play with the fountains. It is located in central Manhattan and is often covered in media as one of the most sustainable parks in the world. Learning about High Line’s history and the construction of the park is fascinating for urban planners.
3) Luxembourg Gardens, Paris – One of the oldest parks, it was created in 1612. Paris’ urban planning, particularly the influence of many early urban planners has been replicated by many countries around the world, particularly it’s wide boulevards and pathways which are very clean and well managed. Paris’ architecture is world renowned and has attracted a large base of tourists because of its architecture, particularly after the time of Baron Haussmann who was a major influence in Paris. Although it is a small garden, it has many amenities and functions, as Wikipedia states: Luxembourg Garden “covers 23 hectares and is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, model sailboats on its circular basin, and picturesque Medici Fountain, built in 1620.”
4) The Ridge, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh – The Ridge is a large open square located in Shimla, one of the few open squares in India and the biggest hill station of the world. Most of the shopping and market centers around the Ridge and it is the most central location of Shimla attracting many people on a daily basis. There are many prominent landscapes surrounding the Ridge such as a church where people also visit regularly. There is also some public art on the Ridge, although in the form of statues of distinguished people who have contributed to India’s early independence era such as Mahatma Gandhi. This public space is also popular for local events and exhibitions. This example suggests that India needs more public squares in other major cities too!
5) The Prado, Havana, Cuba – One of the most famous promenades, The Prado is a street completely decorated by gravel stones, tree-lined street, and marble benches surrounding the whole length of the street. It is a great place to walk and provides fresh air, similar to a park. Surrounding the boulevard are important monuments, hotels, and theatres. In 1925 it was decorated and moderated by the famous French landscape architect Jean-Claude whose mark is still left in the streets and the government has continued to maintain and enrich the public space for Cuban citizens.
The above are the best examples of public spaces used in a unique way that not many cities have the luxury to experience parks, boulevards, and markets like the above. It is useful for urban planners and landscape architects to take note of such public spaces so that they can contribute to making changes to the cities they live in. People need to understand and see the impact public spaces can have on their daily lifestyles. There are many other examples and Project for Public Spaces is a great organization to look at if you want more details. As stated earlier, there is a shortage of public spaces in cities especially those ones that are clean and hygienic for citizens to feel safe and secure in. From the governments, architects to the local people, everyone has a role to play in bringing about this change and well being in cities.