Public spaces decked out in the season's finest.

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

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    A Horrifying Glimpse Into Your Dystopian Future Transit Commute

    A comic artist’s take on what the future of transportation might really feel like.

  2. A cyclist rides on the bike lane in the Mid Market neighborhood during Bike to Work Day in San Francisco,
    Perspective

    Why Asking for Bike Lanes Isn't Smart

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  3. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  4. Two men look over city plans at a desk in an office.
    Equity

    The Doomed 1970s Plan to Desegregate New York’s Suburbs

    Ed Logue was a powerful agent of urban renewal in New Haven, Boston, and New York City. But his plan to build low-income housing in suburbia came to nought.

  5. An old apartment building and empty lot and new modern construction
    Equity

    Will Presidential Candidates’ Plans to Address Redlining Work?

    Housing plans by Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg intend redress for racist redlining housing practices, but who will actually benefit?

×