PPS’s broad-based design and planning experience is especially strong in the area of making plazas and civic squares active places for people. PPS has extensive experience developing design improvement plans to make these public spaces more active, comfortable, and enjoyable for people. The design improvement plans incorporate not only physical design but also programming and management recommendations. In developing designs for plazas and squares, PPS considers how the spaces function, including the design and placement of amenities and programming of events and activities. PPS’s goal is to improve these public spaces so they are active, comfortable, usable and economically viable for the people who use and manage them, and that they are truly representative of the common life of the community. PPS has had remarkable success in revitalizing public spaces with problems such as drug dealing, undesirable use and underuse, and has been widely recognized for its efforts.

PPS believes that the developing of a civic square that is to be an actively-used resource for the community does not happen simply by providing an open space in the center of a city. The development of such a space, ideally, requires four key ingredients: community ideas, public space design that supports a program, a management group in charge of the square, and active public uses in adjacent buildings. PPS is uniquely skilled at translating the ideas and information from these four components into specific programs and design recommendations. PPS’s skills have been developed, tested and applied in over 20 years of research and project work all over the country and abroad.