Dubrovnik Old City Squares

Dubrovnik, Croatia The Luza Square or St. Blaise Square
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Submitted by: Tigran Haas

A historical UNESCO protected old town of Dubrovnik with beautiful public space - squares.

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Why It Works

Dubrovnik Square is a typical example of the traditional (medieval) city where meeting places, market spaces and walkability coexist more or less in balance, while at times in perfect harmony. Its scale, dimension of streets, distribution of uses along and within the streets and squares, the scale of detail of buildings that is in harmony with human senses, and opportunities for movement all work towards a strong identification with place, towards a genius loci.

Dubrovnik and its two squares reflect much of the ingredients of placeness, namely one or more of which must be present for a space to be a place. Some of these ingredients have to do with connections to reality and links to the past, facilitation of spontaneous exchanges, affirmation of people’s identities and others. Creating placeness in the public realm means to create and enable a public place for meeting, market and traffic (preferably walking).

What Makes Dubrovnik Old City Squares a Great Place?

It connects perfectly, especially with the buildings, spaces, people and natural surroundings. It works in synergy with the adjacent market square of Gundulic. Both squares are actually almost car-free (delivery services are the only seldom traffic allowed during certain hours).

The story of the two squares brings us closer to the tantalizing possibility of a return to the pattern of lively, attractive streets that we had enjoyed for thousands of years, until the advent of automobiles. Both of the squares are in a sense working together to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects – producing a kind of urban synergy of public spaces.

Fantastic first impression, a livable and comfortable place surrounded by art, history, used by people, human scale, great climate, variety of uses.

100% use by all ages, all genders, and all social classes in combination with mixed-use buildings in the surroundings creates a perfect third place in the idea of Ray Oldenburg

100% creates a third place. Used for meetings, festivals, talking, learning, individually and in groups, ratio 50% locals 50% tourists. These places are suitable for different functions and even more important for various persons: elderly, children, etc., places and spaces where persons of different generations and different social status are together, each learning from the others.

History & Background

The square is in perfect balance and harmony with its surroundings and with no interference whatsoever but with synergetic energy. Almost nearly perfect squares, one being slightly more dominant because of it disposition and the other somewhat larger but different than the former one. The buildings are of an excellent scale, the art and sculpture complementing the urban design in the fullest sense. It is obvious that the sentiment is of Italian origin and thereby one of the highest in creating livable public spaces. The squares posses the great urban design quality of surprise and disclosure that Camillo Sitte and Gordon Cullen talked so much about.

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