At PPS, we love to stick our necks out. And we've done it again here with these lists of the best and worst parks, along with the best and worst squares. We know all of these parks and squares very well -- meaning we have studied them at various times of the year, we've worked on campaigns to improve them, or we have visited them at least five times. With both our lists of the greats and those most needing improvement, we hope to inspire discussion about how to make all parks and squares better.
The real reason we've done this is to get you thinking. We want to hear your opinions on what are the great parks and squares of the world and which ones are overrated and in need of serious overhaul. Please tell us about the great (and not-so-great) parks and squares in your city that you use often and know well, which we may not know about.
Some of these choices may surprise you. New York's Bryant Park was once on our honor roll of Great Public Spaces and now we're listing it as a park needing big changes. (See When bad things happen to good parks in this issue of the newsletter.) Chicago's new Millennium Park has won raves nationally (See Jay Walljasper's Town Square column in this issue), but it is too early to know where it fits here. There was wide debate in our office about Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens, which some of us think is the best park in the world. It doesn't fit the classic definition of a park, however, even though it offers an interesting model for the future. We will discuss it further in the next issue of Making Places. And in compiling this list, it struck us that plazas are important public places whose role in society needs more thought. We hope to explore this idea further in a future issue of our newsletter. We've concentrated our choices on North America and Europe, where parks and squares are the classic forms of public space. Different types of places, such as markets, prevail in other parts of the world, which we hope to address in the future.
#6 - Parc Guell
#7 - Kungsträdgården
#13 - Balboa Park
#2 - Parc André Citröen
#6 - Rittenhouse Square
#12 - Plaza de la Constitucion (Zocalo)
#5 - ABN AMRO Headquarters Plaza
#8 - HUD Plaza