Photos

Happy Holidays From Cities Around the World

Public spaces decked out in the season's finest.

Image

As I have written before, it is impossible to have a great community without great public spaces - appealing and accommodating streets, sidewalks, parks, storefronts, plazas, accessible cafes, and so on. Transit systems, too, are an important form of public space, albeit one that moves. These are the essence of what many city planners and thinkers call "the public realm," to contrast with the realm of privately owned and secured homes, yards, and private office buildings.

People love communities from Paris to Santa Monica precisely because their public spaces are so enticing. The best ones really come alive at this time of year:

 

  Paris (by Kaid Benfield)

 

  Chicago (by Devyn Caldwell/Flickr)

 

  Copenhagen (by Andy Revkin/Flickr)

 

  Rostock, Germany (by Carsten Pescht/Flickr)

 

  New York (by Luke Redmond/Flickr)

 

  Nantes (by Kaid Benfield)

 

  Dublin (by Katie King/Flickr)

 

  Vancouver (by Tom Maglieri/Reuters)

 

  Prague (by Hynek Moravec/Wikimedia Commons)

 

  London (by Mika Ueno/Flickr)

 

  Manila (by Stefan Magdalinski/Flickr)

 

  Paris (by Kaid Benfield)

 

  Stockholm (by Brian Colson/Flickr)

 

  Tokyo (by Gideon Davidson/Flickr)

 

  Chicago (by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/Flickr)

 

  San Francisco (by Todd Lapin/Flickr)

 

  Sao Paolo (by Andrés David Aparicio Alonso/Wikimedia Commons)

 

  Washington (by Ahmed Meta-Man/Flickr)

 

Colmar (by: Rémi Stosskopf, creative commons)

  Colmar (by Rémi Stosskopf/Wikimedia Commons)

Peace and goodwill to all.

Top image courtesy of Gideon Davidson/Flickr. This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

About the Author

  • Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. More
    Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. He is the author or co-author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), and Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). In 2009, Kaid was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com, and he was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. He blogs at NRDC's Switchboard.