In Pictures: Havana's Public Spaces

The recent thaw in U.S. relations with Cuba, as well as President Obama's visit last month, have spurred conversations about Havana's future. Its public spaces are worn, but they're busy and well-designed.

April 3, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Kamira / Shutterstock

In 2006, Ethan Kent visited Havana, Cuba to investigate the city's unique public spaces and how residents use them. This image-filled article by Project for Public Spaces collects some of his observations. They include:

  • Children and youth play in the streets freely, without fearing death by classic Ford or Chevrolet.
  • "[Public] markets play an especially important role here creating jobs and supporting a major portion of the food system that is otherwise somewhat fragile. But beyond the very common markets and food stands, there is not a strong retail economy."
  • "A system of small parks and squares, while not always beautiful and polished, are points of pride, sociability, and comfort."
  • Wide, well-used boulevards rival those of Europe.
  • "[The] waterfront is clearly one of the city's greatest assets and already an identifying icon, but the public spaces along the waterfront need the most improvement."

Havana has the "bones" of a great pedestrian city, but will foreign investment build on those assets, or destroy them?

Thursday, March 3, 2016 in Project For Public Spaces

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