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Triangular Plazas: Flexible, Outdoor Rooms With Meaningful Uses

We often think of plazas as rectangular spaces, but unique geometries can create unexpected delight when a few simple criteria are met.
September 13, 2016, 10am PDT | Hazel Borys
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"Last year, I enjoyed thinking of the critical components of a successful plaza: activity, locals, and a third place. Great plazas are hosts to community engagement any time of the day or evening, they attract both locals and tourists, and always have a third place fronting at least one edge of the outdoor room. A recent trip to France provided a study of the unusual triangular plaza, or place. These triangular French spaces reminded me of a very special New Mexican plaza of my home state. They all have a civic use anchoring the base of the space, a mixture of uses framing the space, and opportunity for meaningful, flexible community activity in the space itself."

Susan Henderson goes on to discuss triangular plazas in New Mexico, Normandy, and Paris, looking for important tidbits. These days, the word "plaza" is often applied to a space that is nothing more than an extra-wide sidewalk. The three key criteria for a real plaza are to provide a perception of the space as a room, activate the space with meaningful destinations at the edge, and allow the space to be flexible in its use.

Place Saint-Sauveur Medieval Garden, July, 2016. Image credit: Susan Henderson, CreativeCommons Sharealike License

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Published on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 in PlaceShakers
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