This article was originally published by Project for Public Spaces as "What makes a successful place?", a brief guideline about how to develop great public spaces by following four qualities: Sociability, Uses & Activities, Access & Linkages, and Comfort & Image.
Currently, there are a multitude of pavements in the market, each with different characteristics. When designing a public space, it is essential to ask the right questions regarding requirements and functions to determine the right material for the job. To begin: Where will the pavement be installed? (Will it be protected, exposed, wet, or damp?). What level of traffic will it experience? (Light, moderate, or high?). What type of traffic will it experience? (Pedestrians, bicycles, light vehicles, or heavy vehicles?). What other factors should be considered based on preexisting conditions?
From these questions, it is possible to draw a more precise and effective profile of the "abrasion resistance" of the pavement, an important factor to guarantee the durability and efficiency of the material. Then, the aesthetic, functional, economic, and sustainable factors may be added.
Luxembourg is set to become the world's first country to make all of its public transportation free. The newly re-elected prime minister Xavier Bettel and the coalition government have announced that they will lift all fares on trains, trams and buses next summer. Taking aim at long commutes and the country’s carbon footprint, the new move hopes to alleviate some of the worst traffic congestion in the world.
The International Festival of Concentric Architecture and Design is characterized by its temporary displays that take place throughout the city. For this year's festival, 16 exhibits have been created that seek to experiment with spaces both within and outside the city of Logroño, bringing with them a whole new way to see and experience the urban surroundings.
When we talk about public space, we often imagine a park with happy, relaxed people on a sunny day. In actuality, this is a very restricted approach. A young woman does not cross a deserted street at dawn in the same way as a white man wearing a suit or as an immigrant who may not be welcomed by local citizens. Have you ever felt discriminated while visiting a public space?
Dvorulitsa Project by Meganom Proposes Reinvesting in Cities' Peripheries to Improve Urban Environments
Amidst efforts to revitalize and improve urban centers, the peripheral areas of cities are often ignored or forgotten. The intense focus on the downtown core means, in terms of land use, that only a relatively small area receives the majority of designers’ attention. "Dvorulitsa" (literally "Yardstreet" in Russian) is an urban development strategy proposed by Russian architecture firm Meganom, aiming to shift that focus. Taking the idea of the “superpark” from the 2013 study, "Archaeology of the Periphery," the yardstreet project presents an alternative method of viewing the periphery of a post-soviet city.
Last week, we asked our social media followers, "What does public architecture mean to you?" These thoughts are intrinsic to the architectural debate and come into play in various types of projects, especially in those related to the planning of common-use spaces in cities.
In Ancient Greece, a Polis referred to both the city and its body of citizens, where one cannot exist without the other. It is in this intersection, where Public Architecture, has the opportunity to construct the ideals of society: a space where individuals gather, relate to one another, and become citizens.
Inspired by community input and the site’s rich history, Domino Park reconnects the Williamsburg neighborhood to the East River for the first time in 160 years. As the first phase of the transformation of the 11-acre former Domino Sugar Factory, the five-acre park celebrates the history of one of New York’s most iconic industrial waterfront sites by integrating over 30 large-scale salvaged relics, including 21 original columns from the Raw Sugar Warehouse, gantry cranes, screw conveyors, bucket conveyors and syrup tanks into an interpretive and educational “Artifact Walk.” Sustainability and resiliency measures are central to the design, construction and ongoing management of Domino Park. The park is raised above FEMA flood elevations with many native plant species that reduce stormwater runoff and function as an absorbent sponge and first line of defense for the neighborhood.
For ten consecutive years, Vienna ranks first in the Mercer survey on cities with the best quality of life in the world. In this edition to the global ranking, eight Western European cities join the top ten, even when "trade tensions and populist undercurrents continue to dominate the global economic climate", as Mercer points out in its report.
Studies show that public investment in integrated and safe cycling networks promotes urban transformation, providing more humanity, health and quality of life in urban spaces. While cities in the Netherlands and the Nordic countries have already incorporated bicycles into daily life, with a significant portion of the population using the means of transport for daily commutes, much of the world is still seeking a model to reduce congestion and increase its use. According to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), investing in non-motorized transport allows congestion reduction, improves air quality, physical and mental health of residents, and local trade and brand visibility, once that cyclists tend to pay more attention to local commerce and take up less space than cars.
Nikos Salingaros: 'Contemporary Public Spaces Are Designed For Lifeless Beings, Without Any Sex Or Sexual Desire'
Within the framework of Espacios Oscuros research project, focused on observing and analyzing the experience of sexual diversity in public spaces of Santiago de Chile, architects María González and José Tomás Franco spoke with Nikos Salingaros, a mathematician and thinker known for his alternative theoretical approach to architecture and urbanism. Salingaros promotes design focused on human needs and aspirations, combining rigorous scientific analysis with a deep intuitive experience.
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The key to successfully designing or recovering public spaces is to achieve a series of ingredients that enhance their use as meeting places. Regardless of their scale, some important tips are designing for people's needs, the human scale, a mix of uses, multifunctionality and flexibility, comfort and safety, and integration to the urban fabric.
To give you some ideas on how to design urban furniture, bus stops, lookouts, bridges, playgrounds, squares, sports spaces, small parks and urban parks, check out these 100 notable public spaces.
Just like the architectural elements that make up built space - floor, walls and ceilings - natural elements are also capable of creating spaces in large-, medium- and small-scale areas, in places like public and residential gardens.
According to Brazilian landscape architect Benedito Abbud, "Landscaping is the only artistic expression in which the five senses of the human being participate. While architecture, painting, sculpture and other visual arts use and abuse only the vision, landscaping also involves smell, hearing, taste and touch, providing a rich sensory experience by adding the most diverse and complete perceptual experiences. The more a garden can sharpen all the senses, the better it fulfills its role. " 
Located on the east bank of the Seine sits one of Paris’ largest urban renewal projects, Parc Andre Citroen. As part of a competition in 1985, the former site of the Citroen automobile manufacturing plant would become a new public park that would bridge the urban and rural areas of Paris. The Citroen plant dates back to 1915; however, it was abandoned in 1970s when the company moved further outside of Paris. As part of one of the largest urbanization reclamations in history, Paris began to buy back brownfield sites, in addition renovating others, as part of a city re-beautification process.
Architecture is powerful, and like nuclear energy, it all depends on how it is used. While it can create uninhabitable municipalities, it can also create safer cities that improve quality of life.