PlanPhilly

Public Space

    • Jane Jacobs at home in Toronto

Jane Jacobs and Philly's four original squares

When Jane Jacobs published “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” in 1961, it was a self-aware indictment of the dominant thinking in city planning. Jacobs railed against top-down master…

    • The Family Court Building (right) and Free Library help define Logan Square's civic architecture.

On Logan Square: From Square to Circle… and maybe back again?

In celebration of what would have been Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday on May 4, we’re taking a look at these four parks, past, present and future. What has remained the same,…

    • Franklin Square

On Franklin Square: From 'Skid Row' to fun zone

In celebration of what would have been Jane Jacobs’ 100th birthday on May 4, we’re taking a look at these four parks, past, present and future. What has remained the same,…

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ABOUT PUBLIC SPACE

Public space includes everything from the sidewalk in front of your house, the road on which you drive to work, and the playground in which your child plays on the weekend.  Each of these spaces was designed to achieve specific functions, and some succeed while others fail.  Just like any other part of a city, many different factors explain the success of certain public spaces, and a lot of it is context-specific.  For example, why does Rittenhouse Square always appear to be more lively than Washington Square, even though they are of a very similar size and layout?  Why is Reading Terminal always busting at the seams with people when the Kimmel Center plaza remains empty at times when a show is not playing?  Why are streetscape improvements such as widened sidewalks and street trees the key to unlocking the potential of some commercial corridors and not others?  These questions and more are part of public space planning.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN PUBLIC SPACE

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