Learn about PPS's Three-pronged Approach to Drive Change
Case Studies 

Plaza Santa Ana



Contributed by 
Ethan Kent
Project for Public Spaces
December 6, 2005
December 14, 2017

A neighborhood square, a civic square and a night time destination.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

A destination for locals as well as tourists, this square is a comfortable place to spend a few hours during daytime or night. Have a drink and eat some delicious olives at one of the many cafes that surrounds it, while watching children run through the plaza playing pick-up soccer games.

Access & Linkages

It is near the center of the city and a place many tourists or walkers are likely to happen upon. The streets have been aggressively downsized with only narrow channels traffic to move slowly through the space, allowing cars and people to coexist comfortably. Parking has been added beneath the square.

Comfort & Image

Comfortable to walk into from surrounding traffic calmed streets, the square is probably the best oasis downtown between Parque Retiro and the Prado. Copious amenities and trees surround a promenade that invites pedestrian in to the center. It is the active and accessible edges though that most contribute to the image of the square and the high level of ambience. The only downside is a lack of comfortable seating that doesn't require buying food or drink.

Uses & Activities

A theater, hotel and many great restaurants surround and spill out onto the square. Two playgrounds for kids of different ages blend seamlessly into the square (the fences have recently been removed), allowing parents to sit at the cafes while kids play in the playgrounds. If you're lucky, you'll happen upon a pick-up kids' soccer game taking place in the middle of the square.


While the restaurants here may draw a strong tourist contingent, there are still plenty of users from the neighborhood and downtown business community. Parents with children, local business people, young people, and tourists can all be found here.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

Plaza Santa Ana
Plaza Santa Ana
Plaza Santa Ana
Plaza Santa Ana
Plaza Santa Ana
Plaza Santa Ana
Plaza Santa Ana
Plaza Santa Ana

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


Corrections or additions? Email info@pps.org
Related Articles & Resources

More Related Articles

Learn about PPS's Three-pronged Approach to Drive Change