Outside my window, it’s 25 degrees. Snow is on the ground. My space heater is cranking. I wish it were spring.
Remember spring? Remember sitting outside, maybe on a bench, maybe on the ledge of a fountain, splashing water in the background? Go ahead, take a few moments and take a trip back in time to your favorite outdoor place.
What do you like about it?
Is it peaceful? Are there other people to watch? Do you feel safe and secure? Are you enjoying the sun or sitting in the shade? Maybe you’re sipping on your beverage of choice.
Nice, huh? Maybe you’re in a completely natural environment. Maybe in the woods or in a park. Or maybe you’re outside your favorite café downtown or in public plaza.
Where ever your favorite place may be, there are reasons that you enjoy it so much. There are certain things about a nice place that make us feel comfortable. Sometimes they occur naturally; other times they are the result of a skilled designer.
With this blog, I hope to start a dialogue among people interested in improving the public spaces within their community. We will explore the elements and design principles that help create great spaces. We’ll talk about the importance – socially and economically – of creating and maintaining public spaces. We’ll go from the big picture to the smallest detail.
There is one caveat. I will present only good examples. Yes, you can learn from mistakes, but I’m going to let you find those places on your own. Here, we’ll learn from what works.
To do all of this, we’ll take a tour. And because I live in West Virginia, most of the places we examine we will be in West Virginia. Want an example of a good public place?
How about Pullman Square in Huntington? First of all, there’s a reason to go there. You can go to a movie, shop, or just grab a cup of coffee. And once you’re there, its hard not to relax in the public space. We’ll look at the details of the space in a later post, but, as you can see from the picture, it’s not a huge or extravagant space. Actually, it’s kind of simple. But it works amazingly well. Why?
Here’s a clue: It’s not just one big space; there are spaces you can call your own.
I can’t wait until it warms up. Time travel is just not the same.
Catch you next time and we’ll take a closer look at Pullman Square.
Photographs courtesy of DRB Group, LLC.