Sunday, December 6, 2009

What If We Built Our Cities Around Places?

PPS announces its new Great Cities Initiative, which applies the principles of Placemaking to entire cities.


ne of the joys for all of us working at PPS is learning from people all around the world about how they'd like to make their communities better. No two answers are the same, but listen long enough and the degree to which people share similar desires is remarkable. "Downtown would be a better place if I felt comfortable walking there," is a common sentiment. Or we'll often hear someone tell us, "There should be a place close to home where I can take my kids to play." Though the specifics vary, a steady current runs beneath the surface of what people say. It's the same desire for shared, public places that has shaped human settlements since the first cities were built.
Small steps to enliven streets, parks, and other public spaces are the building blocks of a thriving city.
The architect and author Christopher Alexander coined a phrase (and authored a book by the same name), "The Timeless Way of Building," that touches on these common yearnings and how people have intuitively used them to build congenial places to live. The process of building cities today has become so institutionalized, however, that people seldom have an outlet to put their intuition to use anymore. At PPS, we believe this timeless way of building can be reinvigorated, and we offer a common-sense way to do it: by empowering people to initiate improvements to their local neighborhoods place by place. These small steps to enliven streets, parks, and other public spaces are the building blocks of a thriving city.

Volunteerism is a sure sign that a neighborhood is heading in the right direction.

That is the idea at the heart of PPS's newly launched Great Cities Initiative (more on that below). The vitality of any city depends on citizen action such as neighborhood groups reclaiming their local parks and small businesses recharging commercial streets. Many times, communities need just a little nudge in the right direction to set this process of revitalization in motion. And in a short time, the entire neighborhood has undergone a turnaround as residents take comfort and pride in their public spaces.
What sort of "nudge" are we talking about? Imagine, for example, a neighborhood park bordered on one side by a commercial street and on another by a public library. These urban elements work together to form a single place, yet in a typical city that area would likely be managed by a number of public entities, each operating independently of the others. Instead of a unified approach to improving the place, we likely end up with atomized spheres of influence. The Department of Transportation promotes fast traffic on the roadway with little concern for pedestrians, park users, or patrons of local businesses. Park officials don't factor in library patrons or local shoppers when programming activities. You wind up with a park without popular activities, a street where people don't feel comfortable walking to the park or library, and local institutions cut off from the surrounding neighborhood.

Atomized spheres of influence: This street, bus stop, and library in San Antonio have no relation to each other except for a shared sense of emptiness.

But if we look upon these elements as interrelated components of a single place, we create more opportunities for local people to collaborate and jointly create a vision of what's best for the community. How can the street, park, library, and businesses support and strengthen each other? What do business owners, library employees, and nearby residents envision for the area? By simply observing and listening to the people who live or work or play in the area, the solution to what the place needs will become apparent.

This library in Riverside, California hosts concerts and markets, serving as a civic square for the city.

Every day, PPS puts these ideas into practice in the cities, towns, and regions where we work. In order for this approach, which we call "Placemaking," to be effective, we've found that professional planners, designers, and engineers first need to move beyond the habit of looking at and shaping cities through the lens of single goals or professional disciplines. Only by adopting a more holistic view can we say goodbye to streets dominated by traffic, parks little-used by local residents, and public institutions and redevelopment projects isolated from local communities.
Fortunately, there is a new wave of interdisciplinary collaboration that adopts a more cooperative approach to knit neighborhoods together, and it brings real economic and social benefits to cities. Parks departments are partnering with transportation officials to create greenways and other transportation networks for pedestrians and bicyclists. Transportation agencies are teaming up with economic development organizations to bring housing, businesses, and a sense of vitality back to downtown streets. And community development groups are investing in parks, plazas, and other public spaces with the goal of reviving urban neighborhoods.
Placemaking succeeds at this larger scale precisely because it encourages everyone to think small.
Innovative partnerships are central to PPS's mission of shaping cities using a multi-disciplinary, place-based approach. In California's populous San Mateo Peninsula, a string of diverse communities south of San Francisco, we guided a collaborative effort between transit authorities and economic development agencies to create active, walkable downtowns. Plans for housing and mixed use development were integrated with transit stations in seven towns to foster bustling street life and boost light-rail ridership.
In Tucson, Arizona, the once-vibrant retail and cultural district is now struggling to draw people. PPS is working in partnership with the landscape architecture firm Wheat Scharf Associates, the transportation planning firm Transcore, David Tryba Architects, the City of Tucson, and Tucson DOT to help revitalize downtown by growing places around existing assets, such as historic theaters, a bus transfer center, a landmark hotel, and a restored train depot. The city's historic commercial corridor, Congress Street, will be the spine of the district, connecting the places to each other and to adjacent downtown institutions.

Congress Street will be a corridor linking several revitalized places in downtown Tucson.

Placemaking is not just an urban idea. Small towns are adopting this innovative approach, too, as seen in the region around Littleton, New Hampshire. Business and community groups there partnered with the state Department of Transportation, enlisting PPS to use traffic calming experiments as a way to enhance the quality and popularity of downtown. Several other towns in the region conducted their own workshops and experiments after watching the results.
New partnerships are forming around Placemaking because it is a powerful movement that comes directly from people's concern about their lives. Now, what if we took this emerging spirit of partnership a step further? To revitalize our cities through the process of making better places, we need even more collaboration--not just between disciplines but also between professionals and the communities they serve. Imagine interdisciplinary teams--park planners, traffic engineers, economic development experts--working together with local residents to realize a vision for the key places in their communities. Strategically implemented throughout the neighborhoods of a city, the cumulative effect of such a program would be enormous.
That's the crux of the Great Cities Initiative, PPS's new program that applies our 29 years of experience in improving transportation, parks, public markets and buildings to the wider mission of creating livelier neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions. Expanding our program areas is a significant step for PPS, but we have been building toward this moment for a long time.

In Littleton and several other New Hampshire towns (such as Chocorua, above), PPS worked with teams of residents and traffic engineers to create better downtown places.

As we've taken on more citywide and regional projects like those in San Mateo County, Tucson, and New Hampshire, we've found that our Placemaking process succeeds at this larger scale precisely because it encourages everyone to think small. Starting at the scale of an individual place allows a broad range of stakeholders to become involved and make meaningful contributions to the process. And by carefully selecting which places to improve with an eye towards maximizing their impact in the community, the effects resonate throughout the city or region. The Great Cities Initiative capitalizes on this phenomenon, expanding our Placemaking techniques into a comprehensive yet flexible process cities can use to improve themselves, place by place, neighborhood by neighborhood.
The prototype for our Great Cities Initiative was pioneered in Omaha, where PPS helped community and economic development organizations create an ambitious strategy to tap the potential of parks and public spaces to revive urban neighborhoods. Following a PPS-led "How to Turn a Place Around" workshop for 123 people, our local partner, the nonprofit Lively Omaha, deputized 22 volunteers to help groups of local residents conduct PPS's Place Performance Evaluation Game (Place Game for short) in specific spots around the city. The Place Game synthesizes observation techniques and interview skills into a short, user-friendly exercise that people can use to understand the good and bad qualities of a place, and suggest both short- and-long term improvements. The volunteers led 23 of these Placemaking sessions in the first year alone, working with community and civic groups to show how particular places can be improved.
The efforts underway in Omaha illustrate the core principle of the Great Cities Initiative--that instead of approaching the city through the lens of a complex, heavy-handed one-size-fits-all master plan, we should view it as an agglomeration of neighborhoods, each of which contains key places that can have a substantial impact in improving quality of life. These important community places can be identified by conducting a comprehensive Public Space Assessment, similar to the City Commentaries PPS has written for Paris, London, Barcelona, and soon New York. Teams of citizens aided by professionals can then evaluate how well these public spaces work according to more specific measures, using the Place Game to identify opportunities for short- and long-term improvements (see step-by-step process in sidebar).
The Great Cities Initiative provides a unique framework for professionals from different disciplines to collaborate effectively and for citizens to take part in creating the neighborhoods they desire.
We believe this approach makes a profound impact on communities because its small-scale emphasis naturally leads to collaboration and community involvement. Breaking down the mission of city revitalization into manageable chunks enables citizens to become engaged without feeling overwhelmed. The inertia common to large-scale projects is overcome first by implementing small yet visible changes that can be accomplished without great expense, like the successful traffic-calming experiments in New Hampshire. Strategically carried out throughout a city, these short-term experiments create credibility and enthusiasm for long-term improvements to come.
The time is ripe for a bold idea like the Great Cities Initiative. As we've seen, towns and cities are already forging ahead with innovative partnerships and a sharpened focus on how to involve local communities in the process of revitalization. The Great Cities Initiative is the next step, providing a unique framework for professionals from different disciplines to collaborate effectively and for citizens to take part in creating the neighborhoods they really desire. Applied throughout a city or region, PPS's Placemaking techniques can bring immense positive change to neighborhoods and public spaces, creating the kind of vital public life and community energy that has always been the most compelling reason people choose to live in cities.
To discuss implementing the Great Cities Initiative in your town, city, or region, call Ethan Kent at (212) 620 5660 or e-mail

Why Many Public Spaces Fail

William H. Whyte once said, "It is difficult to design a space that will not attract people - what is remarkable is how often this has been accomplished." Today, many public spaces seem to be intentionally designed to be looked at but not touched. They are neat, clean, and empty - as if to say, "no people, no problem!" But to us, when a public space is empty, vandalized, or used chiefly by undesirables, this is generally an indication that something is very wrong with its design, or its management, or both.
The following pairs of photographs illustrate some of the most common problems of public spaces.
Lack of places to sit Many public spaces don't even provide a place to sit. So, in their protracted quest just to be comfortable, people are often forced to adapt to the situation in their own way. Sometimes they simply give up (below), or have to sit on briefcases (second image below).

A lack of good places to sit is an equally important issue. For example, a choice of seats in sun or shade can make all the difference in a place's success, depending on its climate and location. Allowing people to sit near a playground or within view of other activities is also crucial.
Lack of gathering points - This includes features people want or need, such as playgrounds, or places where varying elements--bus stop, vending cart, outdoor seating--combine to create a gathering point. Food is often a critical component of a successful gathering point.

Paris' Parc de la Villette (top) has seats that force people to sit in unsociable ways, and signs that ask them not to climb on the sculpture. Though located along a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, this park at Laguna Beach (near top) has loads of activities, food, and places to sit. It is a busy, healthy gathering place.
Poor entrances and visually inaccessible spaces - If a space is to be used, people need to see it and they need to be able to get to it.

A dark or narrow entrance such as those that used to be at New York City's Bryant Park (top) keeps people out instead of inviting them in. The same entrance (near top), redesigned to be more inviting and open, has kiosks that sell coffee and sandwiches, and the interior of the park is visible from the street.
Dysfunctional features Oftentimes features are designed simply to punctuate the space, serving a use more visual than functional, instead of encouraging activity to occur around them - as at this waterfront park in Barcelona, below.

Good features, such as the friendly gorilla at the Berlin Zoo (above), encourage activity to occur around them.
Paths that don't go where people want to go

Paths that lead to nowhere are useless, as demonstrated at this Phoenix, Arizona park (top). The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, however (near top), show the art of making a path that pulls people along it, or allows them to stop and relax.
Domination of a space by vehicles There may be a lack of crosswalks, or streets that are too wide, or lacking sidewalks.

A main street is not a highway. One should not fear crossing the street so much that the activity needs to occur in groups, as on George Street in Sydney, Australia (top). Crossing the street should be an easy, comfortable activity. Even if you have to wait (near top, Paris, France)

Blank walls or dead zones around the edges of a place The area around a space is as important to its success as the design and management of the space itself.

The blank wall (near top) contributes nothing to the activity of the street. In fact, it doesn't even seem real.
Inconveniently located transit stops Bus or train stops located in places where no one wants to use them are a good recipe for failure.

A transit stop located in a busy, active place can not only make that place better, but also increase transit use.

The Comfortable City

Paris is known as the city of lovers for good reason. People display affection for each other when they feel comfortable in their surroundings, and we always see a lot of romantic affection in Paris. The city has an aura about it that relaxes people, draws them out, allows them to express themselves, and ultimately lets them become who they really are. Why? It may be because there are fewer public constraints imposed on people, and as a result they become more open. For example, in many parks Parisians have no qualms about taking their shoes off, a small but not trivial sign of how they feel relaxed, comfortable, and at peace in their spaces.
The most important indicator of a successful, livable city is the comfort of children, women, and seniors.
The most important indicator of a successful, livable city is the comfort of children, women, and seniors. During our last few visits to Paris we specifically looked at how women used the city's public spaces. Our research has shown that good public spaces always draw a high proportion of women, because women are more selective about the spaces they use. They choose to be in places where they are comfortable, and they avoid spaces where they are not. We found that Paris excels in the number of places where women are predominant. As we went from public space to public space, we saw women exhibit confidence, security, and--in a few unforgettable examples--extreme conviction. (Registered users of the PPS image database can view our slide show of women using Paris's public spaces.)

Three signs of a comfortable place: bare feet, play, and a preponderance of women.

The key to comfortable public spaces is the presence of a range of amenities that support human use. In Paris, the most prominent amenity is the movable chair, which is present in nearly every park and of course in every café. Movable chairs allow people to choose where and with whom they want to sit, giving them a sense of freedom. People feel more at ease in places that give them such choices, and they will choose to use those places again and again.

Movable chairs in their rare, unused state.

Luxembourg Gardens: Apparently, there's no such thing as a public space
with too many movable chairs.

Paris is also the city of cafés, which are an amenity unto themselves. You'll find cafés of all kinds in all places--parks, wide boulevards, or tiny pathways. They provide something that is fundamental to Parisian culture--the opportunity to sit outside and watch the passing scene. And Parisians do it all year around. The café embodies the Parisian attitude toward comfort in public space, as well as the sophisticated management strategies that make comfort possible. A particular café in the Jardin de Tuileries illustrates this concept perfectly. The cafe is designed to be comfortable during cold weather, and it expands in the warmer months to accommodate well over 200 people outdoors. A garden, sculpture, and pond provide the backdrop for the café ensemble.

This café in the Jardin des Tuileries epitomizes the flexibility necessary
to provide comfort at different times of year.

Another indicator of livability is the abundance of "triangulation," a term we use to describe the way layered, complementary uses create a convergence of activity in public spaces. Paris's Luxembourg Gardens provides the foremost example of triangulation in practice. The range of activities is so broad that people can easily spend an entire day there--at least. Movable seating "triangulates" with a central pool and small sailboats to create a very full experience in one area of the park. In another area, the combination of a puppet theatre, carousel, café, bocce court, and basketball court around a children's play area makes a very exciting destination for all ages.

The children's play area in Luxembourg Gardens is at the center
of a whirlwind of triangulated activity.

Bocce, which the French call "boules" or "petanque," provides a spectacle for bystanders, as do the tennis and chess players. There are quiet pleasures such as sunbathing, admiring the espalier apple and pear garden, reading and eating. Indeed, there is something for every age and background. A high level of security personnel (the gardens are located on the grounds of the French Senate), and a high fence with gates that close at dark, keep it a safe and well-maintained haven within a densely populated area.
The triangulation integral to the best public spaces in Paris has resulted in a richness of experience that people have come to expect both as residents and as visitors. And without this richness, Paris would definitely not be the city of lovers.

9 Great Streets Around the World

They teach us how roads can become prime public spaces
A central part of PPS's work is helping communities get the most out of their streets, both as transportation links for all modes of commuters and as vital places for people to enjoy. That's why we showcase many of the world's best streets in our website's Great Public Spaces listings, which begins with people's nominations of their favorite public spaces- streets, parks, squares, markets, buildings and others.
This article below and the complete listing features the recommendations of people from around the world as well as PPS staff. These streets are successful for a host of reasons, among them automobile, pedestrian and bike accessibility; a variety of activities and land uses; comfortable places to sit and gather; and creation of a positive and unique image for the city or neighborhood. We encourage you to contribute streets in your city or town that satisfy these criteria.
Unfortunately, too many streets today provide the exact opposite experience. Along these lines, we encourage you to contribute to "The Hall of Shame" of bad streets so that we can lay out a strategy to fix these streets so that they not only serve all users, but also contribute vitality to the places in which they are located.


Montreal, Canada: Boulevard Saint Laurent

Summertime brings frequent festivals to Montreal's main drag.

Submitted by: Murray Shostak
Why It Works
Affectionately known as "The Main," it bisects Montreal down the middle, linking affluent residential neighborhoods to the north with the garment district, Little Italy, the Plateau district, Chinatown, Vieus (Old) Montreal, and the seaport. Fourteen distinct nationalities call The Main theirs. There are people walking about 24 hours a day, and enjoying the sights and smells of the various cultures that call this street home. It is trendy, eclectic, nostalgic and packed during summer festivals. Summertime is when The Main is closed to traffic in the Plateau neighborhood as festivals take over the street.
Click here to read more about Boulevard Saint Laurent.
More Great Boulevards:
Avenida de Mayo
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Göteborg, Sweden
Passeig De Gracia
Barcelona, Spain
Avinguda de Gaudi
Barcelona, Spain
Las Vegas Boulevard/The Strip
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Click here for more Boulevard listings.


London, England: Camden High Road

People of all ages and nationalities flock to Camden Town's centrally located shopping street.

Submitted by: Lisa Tomlinson
Why It Works
Camden Town throngs with locals, shoppers and tourists, no matter what the time or day of the week. Full of independent shops and markets, the streets are intertwined and pedestrian friendly, lined with old unique buildings, each one different from the next. Each street fosters new and unique experiences. Dozens of train and transit lines come here, with the main underground tube station right in the center of things. There is no dominating age group, race or gender, and if you wanted to meet people from every corner of the world in one day, Camden Town would be the place to do so.
Click here to read more about Camden High Road.
More Great Commercial Streets:
Devon Street
Chicago, IL, USA
Venice Beach
Venice , CA, USA
Elmwood Avenue District
Buffalo, NY, USA
St. Mark's Place
New York, NY, USA
The Loop
University City, MO, USA
Click here for more Commercial Street listings.


Barcelona, Spain: Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas is hands-down Barcelona's most popular and defining street.
Why It Works
A tremendous variety of eateries, shops, markets, and cultural institutions can be found here, along with a huge number of pedestrians and people-watchers. About 1.5 kilometers long, Las Ramblas is really a sequence of three pedestrian-oriented street/boulevards. Its central pedestrian promenade is unique in many respects, not the least being a clear aesthetic quality created by its pleasant proportions, relative to adjacent development. Landscaping and ample seating are two other big strengths. A mix of activities promotes diverse image and flexible character; Las Ramblas is universally seen as Barcelona's most characteristic, most important, and best street. A huge number of different enterprises are in operation here -- traditional retail, specialized vending, kiosk sales, markets and exchanges, fairs and exhibitions, shoe-shining, eateries and pubs, music and much more. There are also a number of museums and cultural institutions.
Click here to read more about Las Ramblas.
More Great Iconic Streets:
Athens, Greece
Passeig De Gracia
Barcelona, Spain
Las Vegas Boulevard/The Strip
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Paris, France
Rua Augusta
Lisbon, Portugal
Click here for more Iconic streets.


Glasgow, Scotland: Buchanan Street

Buchanan Street is a vital pedestrian zone serving as Glasgow's retail anchor and the best spot to people-watch.

Submitted by: Niall Murphy
Why It Works
With richly ornamented Victorian and Edwardian commercial buildings as a backdrop, Buchanan Street is Glasgow's grandest promenade and the true heart of the city. Along its length you'll find numerous small shops, two shopping arcades, two major shopping centers, a museum and library, and a design centre. There are regular displays of street theatre and a monthly farmers market. In 2003 it was voted Scotland's favorite street in a BBC/CABE poll. In summer 2004 it was awarded a Congress for New Urbanism award for excellence. Glaswegians are renowned for their friendliness and sense of humor. Buchanan Street epitomizes this and is a very convivial place. It is the city's main promenade where people meet up to shop or socialize. The ratio of locals to tourists is well balanced.
Click here to read more about Buchanan Street.
More Great Pedestrian Streets:
Wall Street, Asheville
Asheville, NC, USA
Strøget District
Copenhagen, Denmark
Cat Street
Tokyo, Japan
Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL, USA
Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Click here for more Pedestrian streets.


Madison, Wisconsin: State Street

State Street is safe for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Submitted by: Judith Steinkamp
Why It Works
This main street is the meeting place and social center of Madison, connecting the University of Wisconsin campus and the Madison Capitol. It is vibrant and busy at all time of the day, week and year. The street is designed to be comfortable and accessible for all modes of transportation: pedestrian and bikes, trolley, bus and auto traffic. It is closed down for street fairs and other events, welcoming all ages and ethnic groups. It is an example of a wonderful "college town" main street that connects to the larger community and invites the community into the college's public life. The shops and restaurants transition from student-oriented to more community-oriented as one approaches the Capitol. A farmers market surrounds the Capitol at the end of the street.
Click here to read more about State Street.
More Great Main Streets:
West Main Street, Sackets Harbor
Sackets Harbor, NY, USA
Alleg Street
Borås, Sweden
Sainte-Catherine Street
Montreal, QC, Canada
President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, AR, USA
Art Street
Taichung County, Taiwan
Click here for more Main streets.


Paris, France: Rue Mouffetard

A market in the morning, Rue Mouffetard becomes one of Paris's leading dining destinations later in the day.
Why It Works
Rue Mouffetard is a remnant of an old Roman road. Some buildings date from the 12th century, and many have distinct histories. In one sense, this street represents the history of Paris. The market of Rue Mouffetard fills every morning as people come to do their daily shopping. Its vitality is reminiscent of a scene from the Middle Ages. After the market closes, restaurants open up, offering a wide variety of ethnic foods as well as traditional French food at cafes and creperies. Colorful images of local produce, quaint Parisian shops, and diverse crowds along with the constant chatter of market buyers and sellers create a wonderful and long-lasting impression. The minimal vehicle traffic and the presence of shop vendors add to the feeling of safety and comfort for pedestrians.
Click here to read more about Rue Mouffetard.
More Great Market Streets:
St. Mark's Place
New York, NY, USA
Rue des Rosiers
Paris, France
Rue de Buci
Paris, France
Rue Montorgueil
Paris, France
Click here for more Market streets.


Zurich, Switzerland: Bahnhofstrasse

Although world-famous for its upscale shopping, Bahnhofstrasse’s real appeal lies in its pedestrian energy and effortless transit integration.
Why it works:
Bahnhofstrasse, which connects the main train station with the lakefront, is Zurich's most famous and exclusive retail district. Individual retailers and high-end department stores sit side by side with art galleries, hotels, restaurants, renowned confectioners and Swiss bank headquarters, all of which draw a diverse crowd of locals and tourists alike. The real secret behind Bahnhofstrasse’s commercial success, and enduring appeal for the pedestrian. However, is likely its seamless integration of different transit modes, and the street’s hyper accessibility. Numerous tram lines service the Bahnhofstrasse, most of which interface at either end with rail, ferry, or bus. Private vehicles are prohibited for most of its length, while signaling and careful paving treatment ease their integration with bicyclists and pedestrians where permitted. Because of this restricted automobile access, the many pedestrian-only, cobblestone alleyways that lead onto the street, and the leisurely pace of window shoppers that stroll its sidewalks, Bahnhofstrasse feels largely like a comfortable, pedestrian boulevard.
Click here to read more about Bahnhofstrasse.
More Great Transit Streets:
Istiklal Caddesi
Istanbul, Turkey
Göteborg, Sweden
Bourke Street
Melbourne, Australia
Click here for more Transit streets.


Melbourne, Australia: Acland Street

Known for its sidewalk cafes and superb people-watching, Acland Street is where everyone goes to relax and socialize.

Submitted by: Freda Eisenberg
Why It Works
Acland Street has an intimate scale that brings pedestrians into close contact with its many cafes and street musicians, giving it the air of a bustling, linear party. Outdoor tables are prominent, and are often situated at the edge of the sidewalk, channeling passers by through cafes rather than around them; in this way pedestrians are integrated into the cafe scene, and are allowed a closer look at the wares displayed in the numerous bakery windows. Festive touches include a bold, checkerboard patterned sidewalk with decorative tile insets. Acland Street is a place of leisure. People go there to relax, socialize, and enjoy good food and music.
Click here to read more about Acland Street.
More Great Waterfront Streets:
West Main Street, Sackets Harbor
Sackets Harbor, NY, USA
Copenhagen, Denmark
Venice Beach
Venice , CA, USA
River Walk
San Antonio, TX, USA
Click here for more Waterfront streets.


Budapest, Hungary: Toth Arpad Setany

Historical charm and great views make this cozy street one of Budapest's gems.
Why It Works
This wonderful spot for a promenade acts as a gathering place for locals and visitors who appreciate the beautiful architecture, trees, benches, fountains, and an incredible vista. The street as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts - but its parts are impressive: the architecture is historic and harmonious; mature trees make a shady canopy; a wide walkway follows along a spectacular view; old-fashioned street lights and benches line the street. At one end of the street is Budapest's palace, which is a major destination for visitors. Go up any side street and there is a quiet restaurant, cafe, or shop. The street is a favorite place to walk or jog on a sunny day to enjoy a breath-taking looking out at the hills behind Budapest.
Click here to read more about Toth Setany.
More Great Residential Areas:
Boston, MA, USA
The Fan District
Richmond, VA, USA
Washington Square Park, NYC
New York, NY, USA
The Village of Arts and Humanities
North Philadelphia, PA, USA
Berkeley Hills
Berkeley, CA, USA
* Projects without reference to nomination were contributed by Project for Public Spaces