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The Rise and Fall and Rise of Great Public Spaces

"Copenhagen's comeback gives hope to people around the world who want to make sure that lively public places don't disappear in this era of rampant traffic, proliferating privatization, heightened security measures, overpowering commercialization and the general indifference .."
"The decline of public places represents a loss far deeper than simple nostalgia for the quiet, comfortable ways of the past. "The street, the square, the park, the market, the playground are the river of life," explains Kathleen Madden, one of the directors of the New York-based Project for Public Spaces, which works with citizens around the world to improve their communities.

Public spaces are favorite places to meet, talk, sit, relax, stroll, flirt, girlwatch, boywatch, read, sun and feel part of a broader whole. They are the starting point for all community, commerce and democracy. Indeed, on an evolutionary level, the future of the human race depends on public spaces. It's where young women meet and court with young men—an essential act for the propagation of the species. Numerous studies in fields ranging from social psychology to magazine cover design have proved that nothing grabs people's attention more than other people, especially other people's faces. We are hard-wired with a desire for congenial places to gather. That's why it's particularly surprising how much we overlook the importance of public places today."

to read Jay Walljasper's "The Rise and Fall and Rise of Great Public Spaces" posted on www.commondreams.org July 18, 2012, click on

 http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/18-2?print

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