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The Plaza: What Makes a Community Living Room?

The Plaza can behave as the community living room. Why is this so hard to get right in post-WWII U.S.?
June 3, 2015, 12pm PDT | Hazel Borys
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"Recent trips to Spain and Germany have me appreciating the nuances of three plazas I had the pleasure of experiencing. Each plaza was a different character and scale from the other, which if I had to sum up simply, I’d call Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor: A City Plaza, Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt: A Civic Plaza, and Zafra’s Plaza Grande and Plaza Chica: Neighborhood Plazas. All share some common qualities, including being very active almost any time of day and in any weather, populated by what appear to be locals as well as visitors, and all have third places fronting at least one side of the plaza. But after that, the differences abound. It’s enjoyable to have the pause of vacation to study these spaces and think about what lessons we might bring home."

Susan Henderson goes on to offer insights and photos of each plaza, with a look at how we might enable similar community living rooms in North America.

Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor: A City Plaza. Image Credit: Susan Henderson

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Published on Monday, June 1, 2015 in PlaceShakers
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