The place game is used on a street in Denver, Coloardo.

PPS works with thousands of people every year to help them improve their communities, and one of our most powerful tools is the place game. A short survey used to evaluate public spaces based on four criteria–access and linkages, uses and activities, comfort and image, and sociability–the place game generates valuable insights about how to transform public spaces into vibrant community destinations.

At our recent Streets as Places training course, participants used the street audit–a cousin of the place game focused on streets–to evaluate Petrosino Square, a small public plaza in downtown Manhattan. Wayne Senville, editor of the Planning Comissioners Journal, provides an excellent writeup of his experience “Circling the Square” that illustrates the myriad lessons that can be learned by simply observing a space, talking with people who use it and then sharing findings in a small group.

For more on Senville’s experiences at the Streets as Places training course, visit the Planning Commissioners Journal‘s website, a terrific source of resources and information for citizen planners.

The benches at Petrosino Square are heavily used during the day, but the space lacks a strong identity. Photo credit: Wayne Senville