In the social life, culture, and traditions of historic towns, public places play a vital significance. Old towns have a distinct character that is embodied in their public areas, which are defined by their urban planning and architectural style. They help to create social links and integrate local communities. 

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Public space _©https://www.gillespies.co.uk/news/redesign-of-public-space-in-city-of-london-submitted-for-planning-st-helens-square

Architecture and urban planning are crucial to this process. Social interactions require that public areas have historical significance. The synthetic sense of three-dimensional space is primarily caused by architectural details, urban design, and the combination of urban and architectural influences. By re-establishing the proper balance between economic, social, and cultural legacy, revitalisation projects aid in the preservation or revival of desirable sites.

Public Spaces in Small Towns

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Greek Agora_ @https://www.slideshare.net/sarah-cowan/the-agora-overview

Since the beginning of urban development, public spaces have been a crucial component of the urban fabric. Public squares were the hubs of communal activity even in ancient times, as demonstrated by the Greek agoras and Roman fora. Both mediaeval towns and contemporary cities centred their urban development on town squares. Their purpose has changed over time, from being open spaces where traders put up their booths to being the focal points of towns that are encircled by the principal governmental structures. 

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Old Town Square of Czech Republic_ @https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_Town_Square.jpg

Town squares’ shape and architectural style have evolved over time. Town squares, however, have continued to be an important part of local character despite these changes. The main points of urban planning are the historic town squares, which serve as a living history museum. Public spaces highlight the worth of historical memory as a non-material asset by representing certain historical and cultural values that are incorporated in architectural design. In order to meet local requirements and foster a feeling of local identity, connection, and responsibility for one’s home, public spaces play significant social and sociological functions in the running of historical towns. They should be maintained and conserved. 

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Social activities in old town square of Warsaw_ @https://www.inyourpocket.com/warsaw/old-town-square_148432v

Local communities have a variety of demands, such as a need for physical and mental health, meaningful interactions with other people, high standards of living, leisure activities, and a good level of life in residential areas. At the level of communities, social groupings, or entire societies, these variables help to build and strengthen human interactions. By managing social features in small towns, public places play a crucial role.

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Cultural Illustrations in public spaces _©https://www.mk-illumination.com/article/how-light-art-transforms-cities-and-public-spaces/

Public areas in small towns serve to unite the local population, foster communal relations, and serve as a testament to the towns’ illustrious past, which is reflected in their architecture and urban planning. Historical public areas that have been well-maintained are welcoming destinations that draw locals.

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Harmony in public spaces _©https://landezine.com/metalco-advertorial-shadow-in-urban-spaces/

Architectural and urban design that fosters visual order and spatial harmony, as well as their usefulness, have a major impact on the quality of public areas in small towns. Both local levels of development and aesthetic characteristics, which directly contribute to the allure of public places, are correlated with spatial order. Interpersonal relationships are easier to form, and locals feel responsible for and connect with their hometowns in small communities with a large percentage of older adults. 

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Public spaces add to the appeal of the city _©https://www.britannica.com/topic/architecture/Space-and-massFocus Keyword: Public Space

Urban Revitalization

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urban public spaces_©https://www.hess.eu/en/news/experten-interviews/urban-public-spaces

The practise of renovating run-down, historically significant buildings in downtown regions is known as urban redevelopment. This phrase refers to entire districts or city blocks that have lost their original duties or purposes as a result of economic and social changes rather than specific structures that stand alone (Rogerson, R.J, 2020). By renewing social and economic activity while preserving their distinct cultural value, revitalization efforts aim to restore the roles of city blocks and public spaces.

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Revitalized Public Spaces _©https://www.archdaily.com/945220/revitalized-public-spaces-fostering-human-connections-in-cities

The terms revitalization, modernisation, revaluation, adaptation, conservation, and restoration are sometimes used interchangeably. These actions may supplement revival, but they do not supplant it. Technical fixes and building refurbishment plans are only a small part of revitalization efforts (Pradel-Miquel, M, 2020). Revitalization projects address issues including ease of use, raising local living standards, and creating new chances for economic growth in addition to spatial, aesthetic, and functional considerations.

Urban Planning _©https://www.bdcnetwork.com/blog/3-urban-planning-trends-are-changing-how-our-cities-will-look-future

Urban planning guidelines based on sustainable development principles and the preservation of cultural assets should be established via revitalization projects. Such initiatives open up fresh possibilities for enhancing the functionality of public spaces in historic districts in deteriorated downtown neighbourhoods. Urban planning, economic, and social issues are addressed through the very complicated process of revitalization (Ramlee, M, 2015). Programs for revitalization require an integrated strategy, a collaborative effort by experts from several professions, including architects, urban planners, monument conservators, sociologists, and cultural scholars, as well as backing from the local government. Different elements that affect the quality of public places are taken into consideration through an interdisciplinary rejuvenation strategy (Godoy, M.J, 2015). Urban revitalization initiatives that attempt to make cities run better may also boost a town’s appeal, draw more tourists, and draw in new investors.

References
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  2.     Alves, F.B. The Traditional Urban Square—AVital Organ in the City or a “Thing” of the Past? In Pre-Fabrication of Building Facades; Book Series: Building Research: Design, Construction and Technologies; Springer: Cham, Switzerland, 2017; pp. 37–46.
  3.     Tolstykh, N.N. The city over space and time: The problem of the territorial identity in the context of socio-economic change. Soc. Psychol. Soc. 2016, 7, 147–152.
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  6.     Kobylarczyk, J. Współczesna funkcja rynku—Historycznej przestrzeni publicznej w wybranych miastach [Contemporary function of the marketplace—Historical public space of the selected cities]. Czas. Tech. Archit. 2012, 109, 67–76.
  7.     Van der Zwan, M. Civic participation and public spaces: A key factor for sustainable tourism in historic cities. J. Spat. Organ. Dyn. 2016, 4, 169–181.
  8.     Rogerson, R.J.; Giddings, B. The future of the city centre: Urbanisation, transformation and resilience—A tale of two Newcastle cities. Urban Stud. 2020.
  9.     Pradel-Miquel, M. Analysing the role of citizens in urban regeneration: Bottom-linked initiatives in Barcelona. Urban Res. Pract. 2020, 1–18.
  10.   Ramlee, M.; Omar, D.; Yunus, R.M.; Samadi, Z. Revitalization of urban public spaces: An overview. Procedia Soc. Behav. Sci. 2015, 201, 360–367.
  11.   Godoy, M.J.; de Castro, R.F.; Alves, F.D. The spatial interactions in configuration and production of arrangements functional on medium-sized cities. GEO UERJ 2015, 26, 55–72.
Author

Rajita Jain is an architect by profession who engages with the dynamics of urban spaces and the people. She aims at developing ways of amalgamating cultural and traditional beliefs with modern day technology to give the urban fabric a vernacular sensitivity.

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