Urban plazas

Cooper Marcus, C., C. Francis & R. Russell, 1997, Urban plazas, in: Cooper Marcus, C. & C. Francis, ‘People places’, Wiley & Sons, Ontario

  • Author : Cooper Marcus, C., C. Francis & R. Russell
  • Year : 1997
  • English Title : Urban plazas
  • Published in Book : People places
  • Pages : 14-84
  • Abstract in English : Outline -- The authors define plazas as mostly hard surfaced, outdoor public space from which cars are excluded. It main function is as a place for strolling, sitting, eating, and watching the world go by. Unlike a sidewalk, it is a place in it own right rather than a space to pass through. Although there may trees, flowers or a ground cover in evidence, the predominant ground is hard; if grass and planted areas exceed the amount of hard surfaces, the authors define the space as a park rather than a plaza. This chapter offers guidelines and recommendations for the design of plazas. It is dealing with: The role for the urban plazas, literature on plazas, typology of downtown plazas (the street plaza, the corporate plaza, the urban oasis, the transit foyer, the street as plaza, the grand public place). Design recommendations (and issues) pp. 23-54: location, visual complexity, use and activities (passers-through and lingerers, male and female users, activities in urban space; homelessness, vandalism, and “undesirables”), microclimate (sunlight, temperature, glare, wind, overall comfort), boundaries and transitions, circulation, seating (the sitters, people watching, primary and secondary seating, styles of seating, benches, steps and ledges, social aspects, orientation of seating, seating materials), planting (variety, height, boundary planting, importance of colour and fragrance, provisions of lawn areas), level changes (sunken plazas, raised plazas), public art, food (eating, lunch). Case studies (10) of plazas (successful features/unsuccessful features) pp. 54-77. References pp. 77-80. Design review checklist (118 points of attention: preliminary questions, size, visual complexity, Uses and activities, microclimate, boundaries, subspaces, circulation, seating, planting, level changes, public art, fountains, sculpture, paving, food, programs, vendors, information and signs, maintenance and amenities) pp. 80-84.
  • Comments/Notes : Keywords: plazas