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

Kaid Benfield
Kaid Benfield

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.

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