Montreal is a city with an interesting mix of old colonial squares and new corporate plazas. A new approach to creating vibrant public places seems to be brewing. The focus is on simple and flexible designs that facilitate human activity rather than merely display great architectural achievements.

Gavin Affleck, a partner in the Montreal-based firm Affleck + de la Riva Architects and contributing editor for the monthly magazine Canadian Architect, writes:

“What public space is about is human activity; what it is not about is architectural objects. The great urban spaces of European cities are precisely that: spaces. What fills them is the ebb and flow of life–events, experiences, activities.



Rather than aesthetic, formal or visual concerns, the measure of success of a public space is the degree of vitality it achieves as a support for human activity.” 

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