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Why does the public not use public spaces?


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#21 G-Man

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:58 AM

I have been all over latin america as well :-D One of the best squares I saw was the Plaza de Armas in Santiago. I think perhaps one of the reasons the squares there are very successful is that they often provide a mix of concrete, seating and also natural plantings.




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#22 aastra

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 02:28 PM

I have a serious beef with the people calling for more and more open space. Folks, the thing that distinguishes Victoria from any other city its size in Canada (and especially western Canada) is the way the city's buildings are crowded together. This is a *key* apsect of Victoria's charm. This is why people come to see Victoria's downtown. Because it's dense and walkable. This is why people make flattering comparisons between Victoria and European cities.

In these pics, the only "open space" (other than the dreadful and utterly misguided Centennial Square) is provided by parking lots. And you know what? That's the way it is and that's the way it should be. That's Victoria.

There's only one way to improve on this formula: get rid of the remaining parking lots.





#23 Baro

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 02:35 PM

uhg, look at all that wasted roof top realestate. Put some bloody plants and public spaces up there!
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#24 aastra

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 02:40 PM

And benches.

#25 Baro

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 03:04 PM

actually, look at the cibc roof. Looks like there's a little sunken area on the roof there. I wonder if workers take smoke breaks and stuff up there.

It actually boggles my mind why all buildings don't have little gardens for at least their staff to take smoke breaks and such on.
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#26 jaylow

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 03:19 PM

it would be nice to add to the roof, but how old are theses building?
They probably would need some structural upgrades to do this, and who would pay for that?

#27 Holden West

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 01:31 PM

Here's an interesting view of an area in East Berlin. The first photo was taken by me in 1993. The second photo was taken in October of this year by SSP forumer erwin

Yes, believe it or not, the first picture is the oldest. Note how the excessive setbacks were eliminated along with much of the open couryard. I would think that the sidewalks in the second picture would be much more interesting to walk down.
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#28 G-Man

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 03:12 PM

Now that is a poster board for Scaper!

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#29 victriviaqueen

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 11:08 PM

I guess I 'm the oddball. I use public spaces all the time. I especially love to picnic in those little postage stamp "parks" scattered around the city. My daughter loves it too.

However, I do draw the line at lingering in Centennial Square... there's too much of a bad vibe there.
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#30 G-Man

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 07:20 AM

I am a huge fan of public space but you cannot have it everywhere or it becomes useless.

Now I know many on here are not fond of the new CRD Square next to China town but I do like it. Yes it could be improved but it is still nice. Once we more people to the North end of downtown we are going to see these public spaces used much more.

I am not in favour of 10 square metres of "open space" being forced onto developers which then claim it as a public ammenity these tend to be useless setbacks that do nothing except suck vibrancy off the street.

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#31 victriviaqueen

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 07:49 AM

Ah, OK G-Man. Now I understand your point and, in general, I agree with you.

I do think that there needs to be balance, though, and some areas probably would/do benefit from enforced public space. However, I think that green, living space is more important than paving bricks and metal benches that have become the norm. Those are no more inviting than parking lots.
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#32 aastra

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 03:52 PM

I think we've seen this site before, but did anybody notice the Vancouver pic on this page, under the heading "Blank Walls or Dead Zones Around the Edges..."?

(the pic's filename is "vancouver_large.jpg")

http://www.pps.org/info/placemakingtools/casesforplaces/failed_place_feat

#33 D.L.

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 06:35 PM

Intereseting rees, although that's Government Street here in Victoria and not somewhere in Vancouver

The paths that don't go where people want to go reminded me of the park in Vic West in front of Parc Residences. It has such useless paths. One, if I recall correctly, is paved in finely crushed gravel, and since there is no traffic on it grass has started growing through. Might as well just let it take over.

#34 aastra

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 06:41 PM

Indeed.

The pic actually shows Victoria's main tourist strip: quaint and historic Government Street. And the blank wall is the north face of the Belmont Building, one of Victoria's major heritage buildings.

The blank wall (near top) contributes nothing to the activity of the street. In fact, it doesn't even seem real.




Pretty harsh. Pretty perplexing, actually. I presume they thought the blank wall belonged to something fairly new. I also presume they've never actually set foot on that block, if they've ever even been to Victoria.

And the fact that the pic is named "vancouver_large" doesn't score them many points for credibility.

#35 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 08:20 PM

^ PPS has posted a number of things lately that ticked me off. I hadn't noticed this one before, but it kind of dots the i and crosses the t. :roll:
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#36 m0nkyman

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 08:49 PM

Are you sure that's the Belmont's north face?


doesn't jibe with my memory of it....

#37 aastra

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 09:11 PM

That would be the northsoutherly face.

Are you suggesting they were referring to that pic and not the Victoria pic? It's hard to tell, but I decided they were referring to the Victoria pic because their wording is "The blank wall (near top)..."

The blank wall is near the top of the Victoria pic whereas it's smack in the middle of the other pic (and hardly needs to be pointed out to the reader).

#38 m0nkyman

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 09:15 PM

The term used was near top, which meant the lower pic in all of the items.

#39 aastra

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 09:18 PM

You're right. They're using "near top" to mean "the nearest picture above the text."

So is the Victoria pic there as a good example of a blank wall? Why the heck is it there at all?

I don't understand that bit about not seeming real in either case.

#40 m0nkyman

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Posted 27 April 2007 - 09:30 PM

The blank wall above the street is irrelevant. They're contrasting the vibrant streetscape of Government St., and the deadness of the blank wall....

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