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Do we need modern day Piazzas?

 
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 01:29 pm
Time Square can be seen as a new modern day piazza. Do modern day cities suffer without community centers and piazzas? Should new public spaces be designed and built whenever new public construction is brought into the urban landscape?

Are online communities like a2k the virtual modern day version of the city square?

http://eternallycool.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/turtle-fountain.jpg

Quote:
Piazza Bloomberg
The new, (mostly) car-free Times Square is a triumph of bureaucratic compromise.


By Justin Davidson
Published Feb 12, 2010

New York’s pedestrian revolution began as an experiment"what would happen if the city banned cars from the snarled segments of Broadway in Times and Herald Squares? Now, thanks to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s thoroughness and Mayor Bloomberg’s fiat, the change has become permanent. The disposable lawn chairs and scattered café tables can be traded in for a more considered urban design. Why doesn’t government work this way more often?

Our new midtown piazzas might have their drawbacks, of course. Bloomberg’s decision came bundled with a chart-filled research report purporting to prove that the experiment had improved the flow of midtown traffic. It actually showed nothing of the kind. The city’s trafficologists studied GPS data from taxis and found that they moved more quickly in some directions than they had before and slowed down in others, perhaps for reasons that had nothing to do with closing Broadway. Driving west on 34th Street got 32 percent faster at evening rush hour, but it took twice as long to get from Fifth Avenue to Columbus Circle on Central Park South. Go figure.

Read more: The New, (Mostly) Car-Free Times Square and the Triumph of Bureaucratic Compromise -- New York Magazine http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/63831/#ixzz0gCRowt2t



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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 3,010 • Replies: 21

 
roger
 
  3  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 01:56 pm
@tsarstepan,
Just what we need in Farmington. Nekkid guys feeling up the turtles.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 02:04 pm
@tsarstepan,
Ah, piazza Mattei, a favorite. I once gave a whole day course on piazzas, but town squares in general have played an important role in city life for a long time. I first got all interested in major piazza history, but with more visits to italy and more reading, came to appreciate the simple, almost found-spaces, that pop up in older cities that were built without a grid layout. I'm so keen on piazzas that I'd like to raze part of my present neighborhood (endless tract) so that people had a place to walk a dog to, buy an ice cream, a coffee, a glass of wine, whatever, meet their neighbors, and so on.

Piazza Mattei is one of those spaces that I walked into and was surprised.
http://www.romaviva.com/Piazza-Navona/piazzamattei_tortoise_fountain.htm
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 02:30 pm
@ossobuco,
I can honestly say that you are the muse for this thread Ossobuco! Very Happy
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 02:50 pm
@tsarstepan,
The result of the anti terrorism concrete pillars that lie in front of the white house have transformed that area from the Renwyck Gallery to the Post Office square into a similar pedestrian space and its quite popular.

As a small kid, my folks took me to Philadelphia where the "new urban renewal theory" was being set in motion. Here they developed several piazzas that were "sunken" areas and had benches and trees etc. They never got used because (as was later explained), noone felt safe in an area where there was no immediate way of egress. You were in a well with walls that trapped you in. Several tens of millions were wasted and today the whole zone sits empty. I dont know why they just dont fill it with water and fountains
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 02:57 pm
@roger,
Snort!

Most of our urban areas could use piazzas, I think. They're communal areas, regularly spaced in cities, where people can sit and sip or chat - just hang out. We often have parks, but not with cafes along the edges.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 02:58 pm
i've always liked the idea of a village green

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Village_green

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Comberton_village_green.jpg
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 03:38 pm
Our burgh is building a "mixed-use" piazza for the city center. The key is having residences mixed in with the cafes restaurants and offices

http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/3972/ccresidential.jpg

http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/9009/232026.jpg
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 03:39 pm
@panzade,
Quote:
The key is having residences mixed in with the cafes restaurants and offices



I agree.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 03:43 pm
@panzade,
I love the proximity to the multiplex cinema! I too have such residential proximity to the movies.

What are the lots to the respective East and West of D1 and D2? Some kind of sporting fields? As well as D3 and D5?
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 03:45 pm
I was just in Barnes and Noble the other day flipping through a book that advocated the return of village squares and such. Lovely book, I wish I could remember the name. If I do I will post it. I'm all for the concept.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 03:51 pm
@Green Witch,
That does sound kind of cool to read. You must remember that book!

Look into my watch and try to remember the title of that book!
http://www.mindrighthypnosis.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/pocket-watch-300x244.jpg
Look into my watch and try to remember the title of that book!
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 04:01 pm
@tsarstepan,
I wish...lol. The reality of getting a lot of people in one place to mingle in the US is that you have to have plenty of parking.

H1 is an existing 3 story parking garage. I believe the other 3 surface parking areas will be turned into multi-story garages if the need is there.

http://www.citycenterpsl.com/images/CCphase1.jpg
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 04:08 pm
@panzade,
I guess that would make sense map wise to keep the same building symbol from the phase 1 to the final phase. <<sigh>>
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 04:11 pm
@littlek,
That's it! Parks with cafes.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 04:16 pm
@littlek,
That sunken plaza seems deadly, Farmerman.. Interesting to hear about the newly popular space between the Renwick and White House..

These squares have different components, sizes, shapes, cultures.. (on and on she goes, bla bla) including making a swell site for a bonfire of vanities, or a nice place for burning heretics. I like a lot of them, from the space djdj showed, to pz. Mattei (god, that fountain makes me cry), and agree with panz on the mixed use thing.

But they can work in their simplest forms if there is something there - a small corner store, a bar in the italian sense of coffee, tea, sweets, a place to tuck into in the rain on the way to catch the bus to work.. a few benches, etc. A basic place to walk to. My big interest is in what I call 'pedestrian culture'.. and these spaces can help make that happen. Jumps off of soap box - but wait, soap box: that reminds me of Pershing Square in LA. Now there's a continuous flop of a space.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 09:31 pm
I found the book, along with an interesting site about creating public spaces:

http://www.pps.org/info/products/Books_Videos/httapa
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 09:40 pm
@Green Witch,
I'll have to look at that, probably will like it.
I'll also recommend Rob Krier, and a woman I still have to search on my shelves.

Me, I think now of public spaces as the lace of a city.. not all big blowsy holes in the net, but lacy pockets too.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 09:57 pm
@ossobuco,
Found it -
Natural Light and the Italian Piazza by Sandra Davis Lakeman.

An architect friend sent me her book (I had a publisher but was otherwise occupied) which I suppose was a nudge but I was aggravated. There wasn't much then - just about nothing published about piazzas as a whole. My life got more complicated. Well, one foggy day, a woman, Sandra Lakeman, came into our gallery who had written about piazzas. This threw me, but I liked her. At this point, I wish her well.

In the years in between, city planning departments have opened their pores a bit, but not enough, to me.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 10:22 pm
Parks with cafes, yes.
Some lawn and a couple of trees and some old guys and one simple store, yes.
A place to walk to is important.

On the other hand, I suppose I should show a photo of the pz Maggiore in Bologna.. all men in overcoats. I felt weird as we wound our way to Caffe Mexico. Where we were told to Sit Down, and then overcharged because we sat down.. Not all that long ago.

There is something called piazza rule, mob rule, and fear of the mob.
0 Replies
 
 

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