Public spaces are the pulse of the city. To an ever-increasing extent, new open spaces and redeveloped public spaces are developing all around the globe as a reasonable method to improve urban livability. They are focused on public meetings, become spots to assemble for social and political gatherings, rather often become urban spaces to hang out, play, and interact. The present-day public spaces intrigue with their innovativeness, excellence, and multi-functionality. Buzzing with events all year long, they either become performing stages or places to gather and express a common will, the best public spaces offer a flourishing multi-utilization of the urban space for all age groups and are cherished by inhabitants and tourists at the same time. The reappearance of the open spaces acts as magnets for the development of new towns.

Here is a list of 10 most innovative public spaces of contemporary times:

1. High line, Manhattan, New York

Highline was the former west side industrial railway line.

The defunct Industrial railway line of 20th century was then converted to the elevated public park has multiple access points, with each point having a key component to engage users to explore the complete park. Highline is mostly used as a public park thus it has only a few certain and specific uses pertaining to the need it has a public utility at the beginning and few eateries under the buildings from where the Highline passes. The edge along the Highline is visually permeable as the high line is elevated it gives a clear view across the streets and is a distinctive feature of this elevated park. The overall stretch of the Highline is around 2.6km.

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2. Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark

The public space is not a finished space yet an open creation that will get substance and shape through the dialogue with the users. The selection of hues and materials is independent of language and culture yet will secure significance over time as they are utilized in the city space and populated by the occupants. The various surfaces and shades of the region are coordinated with the goal that they become a background for an assortment of articles picked by the residents and curated by the architects. This background is simultaneously unbiased, unmistakable, and prudent. The objective behind superkilen was to make the neighborhood turn into the focal point of a creative urban space of global standard, which can be seen as a motivation for different urban communities and neighborhoods worldwide.

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3. Skanderbeg Square, Tirana, Albania

Skanderbeg Square has a deep Albanese memory as the principle space of portrayal of the communist tyranny, and as the representative focal point of the capital and the country. The choice to leave the square vacant and incline it delicately towards a little rise in the center is a piece of a procedure to counter its past imagery. Water from little wellsprings streams down the slants, Ths stones are bought from all over the nation. This offers a deliberate yet unassuming association with Albania’s national personality; in any case, space is remarkably liberated from ideological symbolism. The unfilled square is encircled by a green border that goes about as a channel and retains an assortment of social capacities.

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4. Square Street, Barcelona Spain

The project started by working on-site topography with an earth-moving activity. The need to have vehicular access was one of the major objectives and this needed to fit with the necessity of having little squares comprising of a progression of level regions of similar width that function as the smallholdings and are situated at various levels down the slant to make a stepped series of even spaces for waiting and empowering new outdoors exercises. Every last one of these level zones can be comprehended as open space on the household scale, a space outside the houses to be utilized by their occupants. The task in this way settles a twofold objective, in particular giving access at the degree of each passageway to the houses, and step by step adjusting the characteristic slant of the land to the project. The streets have been secured with scraped cement to forestall slippage of vehicles and the little squares are cleared in travertine due to its pale shading and texture. The distinctive patterns were chosen to highlight the fact that it’s an old neighborhood. Trees and different plants will provide the region the warmth and light control that’s important to support open-air life.

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5. Schaustelle, Munich, Germany

The “Schaustelle” is a huge scaffolding framework. It is an experiential exhibition space. It comprises of a three-dimensional work of kaleidoscopic components produced using symmetrical and corner to corner metal bars. Since these modules are triangulated, they hold their shape and some of them can be cantilevered. Rectangular fit as a fiddle, the framework structure is somewhere in the range of forty meters in length by fifteen meters wide and just about twenty meters high. On the ground floor, which is done with a façade of translucent boards demonstrating the name of the space in enormous capital letters; there is a two-story multi-use corridor. This has a surface of around 200 and eighty square meters and can be utilized as a presentation space or for exhibitions, workshops, or different sorts of social events. Two flights of stairs attached to the parallel dividers pave the way to the top of this lobby which presently turns into an extensive patio situated in the structure and encompassed by a shapeless wood of bars every which way. A progression of walkways and sets of steps lead from this level to a post at the highest point of the scaffolding.

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6. The Braided Valley, Elche, Spain

A plaited system of pedestrian path and footbridges have changed the bed of the River into a direct park that re-lines together the areas through which it passes, associating them with regular spaces toward the north of the city. The primary work was finished on the upstream area where the social weakening of the neighborhood and shortage of bridges made improvement critical. An impermanent office was built up close to the waterway that gathered information on the territories of development that were most every now and again mentioned by future users. A system of ways was hence arranged and the zone came to be named “El Valle Trenzado” (The Braided Valley) since then a bridge was built across the stream. replanted with autochthonous types of vegetation and strengthened against avalanches. Before arriving at the banks of the waterway the ways ascend to frame two footbridges in a Y-shape.

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7. Redevelopment of the Old Port, Marseille, France

The redesign of the Old Port frees the docks from visual and building obstructions, in this way making the boats available with access for all residents for recreational activities. The first period of the redevelopment work addressed the problem of roadblocks and vehicular transport from the 12,000 square meters involved by the port’s three wharves, which are now made uniformly paved with the pale rock that closely relates to the initial cobblestones. The focal part of the port area now currently dedicates 60% of its surface to people on foot and provides shade from the sun underneath the Grande Ombrière, i.e. a rectangular shade of 1,000 sqm, which can likewise be utilized for large gatherings. The newer docks are introduced so as to organize water-related activities and on surface pedestrian flow.

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8. Thermal Orchards, Caldes de Montbui, Spain

The plantations around the town are the focal point of a fundamental task of rebuilding which reestablishes the old water system i.e. basically arrangement of warm waters and reactivates rural action thus opening up a system of pedestrian pathways. The system of water channels working on the principle of gravity was Introduced. These channels were fitted with floodgates to release a regulated water flow.The infrastructure was constructed by local people. The renovation respects the tangible heritage of material and the intangible heritage of managing the orchard. The plantation zone is made open so everybody can appreciate it thus, a footbridge has been introduced over the main channel keeping first stone walls are kept as a memoir to that place. The plantations not only offer beautiful vistas but also provide a connection from the outskirts to the town center.

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9. Sunken cycling path, Limburg, Netherlands

Limburg’s sunken cycle connect gives an everlasting experience of cycling through the water. The bridge puts cyclists at eye level with the outside of the lake. “Strolling on water may elude the vast majority of us, however this bicycle trail in northern Belgium offers an encounter that is near as heavenly,” Time Magzine. The bridge, opened with an idea to provide various experiential cycling encounters that together could be called as a “cycle heaven”.

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10. Metropol Parasol, Sevilla, Spain

Metropol Parasol explores the capability of the Plaza de la Encarnacion to turn into the new contemporary urban focus. Its unique role is to function as a unique urban space inside the thick texture of the medieval downtown of Seville that takes into consideration an incredible variety of uses, for example, Identity, trade, and recreation. An exceptional infrastructure activates the square, making it city-level public space for sightseers and local users. The parasol is made out of timber structure and offers an archeological exhibition hall, a farmer’s market, a raised plaza, different bars, and cafés underneath and inside the parasol, at the top, the parasol offers an exceptional view of Sevilla.

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References

Miesarch.com.Eumiesaward. [online] Available at: https://miesarch.com/work/2777

Bustler.2018 European Prize For Urban Public Space Awarded To 51N4E’s Skanderbeg Square Renovation In Tirana. [online] Available at: https://bustler.net/news/6655/2018-european-prize-for-urban-public-space-awarded-to-51n4e-s

Julius Baer. Top 10 Modern City Squares In The World. [online] Available at: https://www.juliusbaer.com/en/insights/future-cities/top-10-modern-city-squares-in-the-world

Hicarquitectura.com.BoschCapdeferro> Square Street | HIC Arquitectura. [online] Available at: http://hicarquitectura.com/2018/05/bosch-capdeferro-square-street

Publicspace.org.Works – Publicspace. [online] Available at: https://www.publicspace.org/works/-/project/h190-the-braided-valley

Inexhibit.The Winners Of The 2018 European Prize For Urban Public Space. [online] Available at: https://www.inexhibit.com/case-studies/the-winners-of-the-2018-european-prize-for-urban-public-space/

Yash Siroliya
Author

Yash Siroliya is a Masters in Urban Design student at the Planning Department in CEPT. In an award winning bachelor's thesis, Yash focused on the restoration of the artistic and cultural legacy of a Himachal village. These days he spends his time thinking about public spaces for the next billion.

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