New York, NY (April 3, 2002) – If you’re planning to book a vacation in Las Vegas – be warned: “There is nothing remotely redeeming about this entirely artificial landscape. The touted greenery is evidence of the greed of the entire concept of Las Vegas.”

A visitor’s verdict on New Orleans’ Vietnamese market sounds preferable: “At 5am each Saturday, over 20 vendors set up shop in a dilapidated shopping square, spreading out produce on blankets; live ducks, rabbits and chickens wail to a background chanting of Asian pop music.”

Such travel tidbits can be found at an unlikely source – the new website of Project for Public Spaces, America’s leading public spaces’ nonprofit. The site, Great Public Spaces, Great Community Places, (www.greatpublicspaces.org) invites people to praise or damn the
places where they live or visit. Not only can you sound off, but you can find tips about parks, walkable streets, trails and farmers’ markets.

World-renowned spaces such as New York’s Grand Central Station and Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens are assessed with the same “place” characteristicsthat are used on neighborhood parks and main streets. And it is the lesser-known places that provoke the most passion: vibrant community gardens tendered by volunteers, obscure flea markets – and other treasures hidden within local neighborhoods.

“There is a pizza and bread-making oven, theatre, ice rink, playground, wading pool, baseball diamond, basketball court, chess, checkers, gardens, crafts for kids, card playing for older visitors, drop in center activities… and best of all, beautiful and abundant old shady trees.” (Dufferin Grove Park, Toronto, Canada)

“Though the neighborhood seems, at first sight, gloomy and messy, it is a place with a very intense community life. In a very human scale environment, children play in alleys embellished with lots of flowerpots, the elderly chat at entrance-doors, and in the summer, everybody dressing “Yukata” gathers at outdoors to celebrate dancing the Obon festival” (Kyojima, Tokyo, Japan).

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