PlanPhilly

Public Space

    • Police stand guard at the Frank Rizzo statue on the grounds of the Municipal Services Building. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

A historian on the Rizzo debate: 'It comes down to what statues do'

Controversy surrounding the 10-foot-tall statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo across from City Hall has rekindled in recent weeks, as it’s become clear that the figure will not be moved or…

    • An event exploring the outdoor world in black literature in the picnic grove at Bartram's Garden was organized by the Free Library's Center for Public Life. | Neal Santos for PlanPhilly

In Common: What if the library could mend public life?

Next in our series about Philly's changing public spaces, Ashley Hahn checks out the Free Library’s Center for Public Life, a new unit that’s aiming to connect Philadelphians of every stripe…

    • NO STOPPING: A sign on a parking meter advertises that there will be no stopping in honor of Philly Free Streets

Philly Free Streets: Enjoyed by walkers, cyclists, beach lovers — but not drivers

Cyclists, walkers, children and dogs were happy to take over the four-lane expanse of North Broad Street during Philly Free Streets on Saturday. The event, in its third year, is a…

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ABOUT PUBLIC SPACE

Public space includes everything from the sidewalk in front of your house, the road on which you drive to work, and the playground in which your child plays on the weekend.  Each of these spaces was designed to achieve specific functions, and some succeed while others fail.  Just like any other part of a city, many different factors explain the success of certain public spaces, and a lot of it is context-specific.  For example, why does Rittenhouse Square always appear to be more lively than Washington Square, even though they are of a very similar size and layout?  Why is Reading Terminal always busting at the seams with people when the Kimmel Center plaza remains empty at times when a show is not playing?  Why are streetscape improvements such as widened sidewalks and street trees the key to unlocking the potential of some commercial corridors and not others?  These questions and more are part of public space planning.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN PUBLIC SPACE

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