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By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

The building façade is the “face” of the building. Like the face of a person, it may be friendly or hostile, open or closed, facilitating contact through windows that open, balconies and doors, or preventing interaction with sealed windows and blank walls. Facades around a neighborhood square should create a welcoming atmosphere in the public domain, emphasizing human scale, enhancing the experience of the space, and facilitating communication.

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

“In ancient times… public squares, or plazas, were… of prime necessity, for they were theaters for the principal scenes of public life.”  Camillo Sitte[1].

“… there must be open spaces that provide a fitting stage for the drama of daily life.” August Heckscher[2].

Did you miss the conference in Santa Fe but wish you could still read the papers and view the slideshows? Perhaps you attended the conference but didn't get a chance to see all the presentations and wish you could fill in the gaps. In either case, the eConference is your ticket!

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

The entrance into a neighborhood square is designed to create the experience that you have arrived at the heart of the community, and that you need go no further. A vista into the square from an adjacent street should reveal the life on the square, the sunlight, bright umbrellas, children playing, a couple enjoying a glass of wine, etc. It should not reveal that there is any destination beyond the square.

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

To be successful, a neighborhood square must be designed for people. It must feel like the community’s living room -  lively, safe, comfortable and hospitable. It must facilitate social interaction and foster a sense of community identity. To achieve these goals, enclosure, sunlight and shade, protection from inclement weather, and from noise, danger and pollution are essential factors.

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

Size
It is important to decide on the size of the square in relation to two interdependent factors: 1) the social functions and population for which the square is designed; and 2) the height of surrounding buildings.

Every day, there are people who leave their home and feel unsafe in the world. They experience inescapable threats to their lives and livelihood from the system that has been built up around them, forced to move through spaces that feel at best uninviting and at worst mortally dangerous. These people are not abstractions. They are your friends and your neighbors, members of your community, your loved ones.

IMCL is delighted to announce that the 55th IMCL Conference will take place in Ottawa, May 14-18, 2018, with the very active partnership of the City, and will focus on the immensely important theme of Healthy, 10-Minute Neighborhoods.  

Efforts are under way around the world to create healthy neighborhoods where walking, biking and public transit are more attractive, reducing dependence on the car. We all know this is the most important way to assure an active, sustainable future for our grandchildren, and to fight climate change.

By Suzanne H. Crowhurst Lennard

At the crossing of pedestrian ways
A neighborhood square must be located at the central crossing point of a network of interconnected pedestrian routes through the neighborhood. As local residents walk through the square on their way to work, school, shopping, running errands, or to catch transit to the city center, their paths cross, affording the chance for a greeting or extended conversation. When people pass each other on a regular basis in the same place, the “stranger” becomes a “familiar”, and gradually the “familiar” may become a friend, or member of one’s circle.

By Taylor Campi

I spent a large portion of my recent 4-day trip to St. Louis, Missouri, in the suburbs west of the city. As is true in the majority of American suburbs, the development and activity in this part of town revolve heavily around the use of cars. I first noticed this on my 6-minute walk from the Metro Link light rail stop to my hotel. The hotel is a massive 8-story rectangular structure that juts noticeably from its rather flat surroundings, and is clearly visible from the light rail stop (photo below). To reach it, however, one must cross under the interstate and through a number of large parking lots.

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