Introduction

Public Square is one of the main pillars in life that has effects on the social quality of the urban space and improving the level of social interaction and cultural values of citizens. Considering the repercussions of public space in quality of social life, in many modern cities, the public squares that have been designed and constructed recently, are not responsible for social needs, improvement of communication, and the social relation of citizens. Because of poor conditions of cities due to lack of attention to cultural, sociological, and psychological needs, therefore inspecting the contributing factors on urban quality of successful historical public squares for improving quality of life.

Content 

The public squares are one of the greatest inventions of the European cities as the central town square or marketplace. It was a uniquely European invention, intimately connected to the development of democracy and representation of self-government.

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Grand Place, Brussels- ©https://www.britannica.com

Compared with many other cities of the world, European cities are designed amazingly with high-quality public spaces, which continue to be an integral part of social and cultural life. The beauty and richness of European architecture, the historical, and everyday significance have been well documented in their lives. Extension of privatization and decline to these public squares is not conceivable in many European cities. As well-maintained places, they are joyful for the residents and visitors. Europeans see these public spaces are part of the fabric of their cities, which they value highly and with which they identify.

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Piazza Del Camp, Siena-©www.pps.org

The public square is not just a place for a meeting, but an urban safety valve. It is a place where people come to celebrate, rip, and unzip the certainties of everyday life. The European square offers the most scintillating peep into the fascinating big picture connecting the past with the present. Starting with the 6th-century Agora of Greece, public spaces have spread across the continent as everlasting symbols of the past. The Forum or Piazza (Italy), Markt (Netherlands), Place (France) Praça (Portugal), Platz (Germany), Námesti (Czech), Rynek (Poland) or Trg (Croatia), may be identified by different names, but their essence binds them together. 

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Old Town Square, Prague- ©www.amazingczechia.com

Although these European squares are naturally the focus of attention, London with its restful, if all-too-often locked, garden squares, Turin with its glorious colonnaded Baroque piazzas, Venice with its Campi, ancient fields long paved over. After the narrow streets and maze-like alleys of the cities, these squares are a physical and psychological release, a magical relief.

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Piazza San Marco, Venice- ©https://www.adam-williams.com

Sometimes squares already exist, it can shape according to its users and occupants of space. They tend to shape their image, boundaries, and so on. It means that users are responsible for the design of their public squares, create a sense of place and flexibility, add symbolic meanings, and provide open-ended activities.

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Piazza Navona, Rome- ©www.museothyssen.org

Historical public squares are open public spaces, which reflect the identity and cultural background of the cities. They are where people gather, their social life takes place, since ancient times. In the last few decades, many public squares have lost their function and role due to the changes in the use of public spaces. 

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Rynek Glowny, Krakow- ©https://mustseeplaces.eu

Well managed festivals and other cultural events can have a very positive effect on the urban environment, drawing the community together and bringing social, economic, and environmental benefits. The public squares act as a catalyst for community engagement. These European squares are a place for dialogue and discussion, meetings and greetings, for experiences to be shared and bonds to form. They are mainly stories about their lives and experiences, details about health and wealth, plans, and hopes. 

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Plaza Mayor, Salamanca-©www.contiki.com

The European squares foster sociability to give pleasure to each other, not to enhance one’s status or position, but to increase each other’s sense of well-being. Sociability may involve gossiping, bantering, storytelling, joking, flirtation, intermixed with seriousness, concern for the other, and expressions of support.

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Trafalgar Square, London- ©www.tripsavvy.com

Sociability is the basis of many of the cultural activities and events that make life on the square joyful and meaningful. In these sociable interactions people do not encounter each other in terms of specific roles, for instance, employer-employee, or cashier-customer, but as complete human beings. The status of each, their social or economic position, knowledge, or fame is not as important as personal qualities, graciousness, cordiality, and charm. 

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Old Town Square, Prague-©www.amazingczechia.com

In this sense, sociability makes for more cultural relations. Especially for children and youth, the European square offers a learning environment. Children learn by repeated observation, imitation, and practice in relating to a range of adults in multiple contexts. And, if they are fortunate, children get a sense of the pleasure some experience in being with, meeting, and talking to each other.

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Piazza San Marco, Venice-© https://en.wikipedia.org
Author

Manvi Khandelwal, is an architecture student. She had been passionate about architecture, since her childhood. She always thought of architecture as a way of living life, apart from designing spaces. She loves to dance, and to her architecture is a choreography of volumes to define her environment.

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