Public Space is Essential for Democracy

Architecture critic Sarah Williams Goldhagen says that streets can't create public interaction in the way that unstructured spaces like urban parks can.

Goldhagen argues that people won't interact unless they're given public spaces that are unstructured and non-goal-oriented enough to give our brains the space to focus on other people:

"Goldhagen argues that only in places that have been designed to foster these social interactions can people once again enjoy the company of strangers not interested in your specific "community of interest." The obvious physical space for the public realm then is public parks, in all their forms, but particularly, the 'great urban parks.'"

She says that the ideal urban park is "not be so large that inside it one loses a sense of the city."

Full Story: Goldhagen: “Democracies Need Physical Spaces”

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95