Squares and parks: 10 best public spaces in the world

Public spaces are the pulse of the city. New squares and redeveloped areas are developing at a rapid pace: this is an effective way to improve life in the metropolis. The projects amaze me with their innovation, perfection, and versatility. Sustainable, often created in collaboration with residents, architecture is proving to be one of the most interesting urban phenomena.

V-Plaza, Kaunas, Lithuania

3deluxe Architecture Bureau has transformed Kaunas Square. What was once unused space adjacent to historic buildings is now a new, inviting public space to enjoy coffee on your lunch break or work outdoors while the kids play in the water. Teenagers now often come here to roller skate, and students to relax in the sun.

Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark

The high-profile project of Topotek 1 + BIG Architects + Superflex has set the standard for transforming disadvantaged areas into a vibrant and vibrant landmark. Superkilen is an urban space several kilometers long, stretching through one of the most ethnically diverse and socially disadvantaged areas in Denmark. It is designed as a giant exhibition of objects belonging to the 60 nationalities inhabiting the surrounding area (there are many refugees here). From sports gear from Los Angeles beaches to sewer covers from Israel, palm trees from China, and neon signs from Qatar and Russia. Each object is accompanied by a small plaque with a description in Danish and its language of origin.

Victoria on the River, Hamilton, New Zealand

At the macro level, the Victoria on the River project (by Edwards White Architects) aims to create a park that serves two functions. Firstly, it is a place where people can stop, socialize, and enjoy the view of the river. Secondly, it is a structure that links the disparate levels of the lower river walk, the upper embankment, and the main street. This redevelopment is not only successful in connecting the streetscape to the river but also represents a fresh take on urban design in Hamilton.

Highline, Manhattan, New York

A benchmark for sustainable urban planning over the years, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Highline is a former industrial railroad line that has been transformed into an elevated public park with multiple access points. The edge is visually permeable: while walking you can get a clear idea of ​​the surrounding streets, which is a distinctive feature of this park. Its total length is about 2.6 km. 

Sunken bike path, Limburg, Belgium

The sunken cycling route in Limburg offers an unforgettable cycling experience. The illusion is created that you are literally floating above the surface. The city’s mayor says: “We have always been pioneers in recreational cycling tourism, but over the years other regions and countries have begun to copy Limburg’s network of cycling hubs. So to maintain our position, we needed to keep innovating.”

Skanderbeg Square, Tirana, Albania

Skanderbeg Square is symbolically very significant for the capital of Albania. It was the main place for demonstrating communist ideology, as well as the representative center of the country. The decision to leave the area empty and give it a slight slope towards a slight elevation in the center is part of the procedure aimed at getting rid of traumatic images of the past. Now water from small springs flows along these slopes. Stones for construction were brought from all over the country: this was supposed to emphasize the multinational composition of Albania.

Schaustelle, Munich, Germany

Schaustelle is a huge scaffolding that, at the behest of the architect Jürgen Mayer, became an experimental exhibition space. The structure is made using symmetrical and angular metal rods. The rectangular frame is approximately forty meters long, fifteen meters wide, and about twenty meters high. On the ground floor, the facade of which is made of translucent boards, there is a two-story corridor. It has an area of ​​about 200 and 80 sq. meters and can be used as a presentation space or for exhibitions, seminars, and various public events. Two flights of stairs lead to the upper lobby, which opens into an expansive courtyard.

El Valle Trenzado, Elche, Spain

A winding system of footpaths and bridges transformed the riverbed into a park, linking spaces of varying heights to regular neighborhoods to the north of the city. The main work was carried out in the area upstream: bridges, which were previously lacking, improved the social structure of the entire area. A temporary office was built near the riverbed, where information about desired development areas was collected from residents. Thus, the El Valle Trenzado (“Wicker Valley”) road system was created. The slopes were planted with vegetation and strengthened to protect them from destruction during avalanches.

Reconstruction of the Old Port, Marseille, France

The renovation of the Old Port by Foster + Partners freed the docks from visual and structural obstructions, thus making this area accessible to residents. Now this is one of the most favorite places for walking. The redevelopment solved the problem of roadblocks and traffic on an area of ​​12,000 square meters. The central part of the port area is now mostly reserved for pedestrians, who can hide from the sun under the mirrored canopy of the Grande Ombriere. It can also be used for large gatherings.

Tainan Spring, Taiwan

The Tainan Spring project replaced the old China-Town Shopping Center, which was built above the city’s old harbor in 1983. As the architects of MVRDV say, the previous construction drained the vitality of the city more than it helped it. They turned the underground parking into a public square with a city swimming pool. It was surrounded by native plants. The pool is designed to be an ideal all-year-round destination: the water level rises and falls with the rainy and dry seasons, and in hot weather, mist sprayers lower the temperature to ensure a pleasant experience for visitors. This space includes playgrounds, a meeting area, and a stage for performances. The project is part of a master plan to redevelop the area.

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