Urban Public Place

Urban public place is an important aspect of any urban planning procedure. Urban planning is a technical process of designing of any urban environment, and it is the most important feature of any orderly development of both the settlements as well as the development of any type of communities living in an urban surrounding. It can be viewed as a strategic plan when it was initially proposed that had both regulatory as well as incentive based strategies in it.

The aspect of environmentalism is an essential part of urban public places. Environmentalism is an essential element of today’s world and it is necessary to protect it but cities are themselves detrimental factors for the environment. Thus, it is a viable question to point out that if a city is to be planned how much Environmentalism should be incorporated in it in a practical manner along with the cultural aspects of the residents. Cultural aspects of a population are extremely important and they are the driving force of a civilization. Thus, it is logical to question the intention of this aspect, while the city is in planning mode.

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In the context of urban public places the landmarks of cities situated in a centralized manner are also important. City landmarks are vital identification points of a city but they are located mostly at the centre part of a city rather than spread all over the plan. It is important to have a decentralized view in context of landmarks as it would provide the citizens a better option of a peripheral view.  

However, it should be noted that urban public place or space is not new in the urban life through the history but it was never in a scale this big as in the modern era. Thus, it is important to ask whether such waste of space at such a huge scale is necessary or not. It is often argued that public space is needed for the citizens but the existence of commercial points in the area makes it a market. Thus, it is vital question that should the shopping malls be detached from the area identified as public space. Nevertheless, the concept of urban public place or space is very popular today. There is a reason behind every occurrence and there must be a reason behind the popularity of public space. Once the reason is deciphered, it is possible to create better and more practical public space in future.   

However, at the moment there are some theories related to the issue. In accordance to researchers Caroline Holland, Andrew Clark, Jeanne Katz and Sheila Peace (2007) “In town centres and local neighbourhoods, public spaces provide social arenas for all kinds of people – residents, workers, shoppers, visitors, and children at play” (p.1). Holland et al (2007) further noted that “Different age groups tend to use public spaces at different times of day and for different reasons. Older people and children in particular appeared to be influenced by the presence of other age groups. Older people are frequently absent from public places, especially after dark” (p.1). Thus, it is clear that the importance of public place is without doubt.

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But there are counter arguments against urban public places too. In accordance to research by Malone (2001) “Emanating from adolescents’ visibility in public space there has been a growing global trend towards the concept of ‘zero tolerance’. Current research has vividly documented how many young people are being positioned as ‘intruders’ in and ‘illegitimate users’ of public spaces” (p.6-7). However, even if this research is true it cannot be denied that the purpose of public place is very important for urban life.

Jane Jacobs is regarded as one of the foremost stalwarts of urban formulation and a great exponent of infrastructure of cities and the method the cities work or should work. Jane Jacobs believes that the basic health of a city depends on several variables. According to belief a healthy city must be serendipitous, spontaneous, messy and organic in nature. But at the same time she indicates that the cities to be really healthy they must formulate a planning where there would be use of mixed lands and not just a compilation of concrete structures that have just office parks and business plazas.

There should not be only office structure that replace densely populated neighborhoods for city beautification or slum clearance but should be targeted towards redevelopment plan that focus on diversity and well being and there should be enough public place for the citizens. In the words of Jane Jacobs, quoted by Steigerwald (2001), “it (cities) should be like itself. Every city has differences, from its history, from its site, and so on. These are important. One of the most dismal things is when you go to a city and it's like 12 others you've seen. That's not interesting, and it's not really truthful” (p.1).

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Nevertheless, an urban public place can only become relevant and use if the people who are responsible and instrumental in making substantial differences to a city are at present more educated in this context. Without the responsibility of the authority and the common citizens the positive vibe of an urban public place can never survive. Any city influences the lives its inhabitants in many ways, and it will surely continue to do so. This is probably the most important factor here. By observing the natural order of public places and spaces and how common people move around them, it is possible to say that this is really important in our day to day lives.

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