It’s time for a little friendly competition. Together with our buddies at Planetizen, we’re inviting you to name the Top 100 Spaces in the United States and Canada. You can nominate a place, or vote for one that’s already on the list, over at Ideascale. (You do have to register, but it’s quick and painless.) Voting goes on until October 15, and then Planetizen will share the results.
So, what makes a place great? Well, we look for four very simple but critical qualities: accessibility; comfort and positive image; a range of activities and uses; and sociability.
In other words, it should be an attractive place you can easily get to (and get into). A place where there are a lot of engaging things going on. A place where connecting with other people happens naturally and often. A place that makes you feel good. You know the kind of place we’re talking about.
When last we checked, Roanoke City Market, the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and New York’s High Line park were leading the pack. But not all the choices are big and famous — take the Ira Keller Fountain in Portland, Ore. (which turns out to have a pretty interesting history: Jane Jacobs attended its opening).
Karja Hansen provides a video and says this about the place:
This one-acre downtown Portland fountain from 1970 may not be the most classically beautifully thing ever, but it does evoke the crashing Oregon streams and rivers nearby and is a wonderful place to passively engage with (reading a book) or actively engage with (splashing around). Well designed into the site it is a great little pocket amid the 70’s era bad buildings in downtown PDX. And one of the best things about the Ira Keller Fountain is that is has somehow escaped the extreme liability concerns that have plagues America’s public spaces — everyone is free to walk right up to the edges, swim in the pools and splash around.
Is your city’s best place on the list yet? This is your chance to get it on the map.
If you need ideas, head over to our database of Great Public Spaces.
Tell your friends and get out the vote!
Photo by Ralph Huntington via Flickr.