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Enjoyable local places

This is a collection of places that I have enjoyed. They are not major destinations in their own right, but are focal points in a neighbourhood or an adjunct to a nearby activity (e.g. Euston Square is used mainly by rail passengers). A few examples are very small spaces, perhaps in an otherwise unforgiving environment, where someone has created a little bit of sociability or animation.

A public square in Bilbao, Spain, provides a social space and an informal spectacle on a warm September evening. The high density family housing means that people of all ages gather here to relax and play (taken in 2004).

A public square in Bilbao, Spain, p…

On a Sunday there are not so many trains or passengers, so why not use the main station for dancing? It happens in Bilbao! (Taken in 2002)

On a Sunday there are not so many t…

New Road (Brighton, UK) is usually described as a

New Road (Brighton, UK) is usually …

Jubilee Square, off Jubilee Street, Brighton (UK). People seemed untroubled, or even attracted, by the artificial grass. The presence of the Jubilee Library and restaurants encourages people to stay and enjoy the space.

Jubilee Square, off Jubilee Street,…

Windrush Square, Brixton, London, UK. At almost any time of night or day, this recreated open space in the heart of Brixton has a mix of people chatting, sitting, passing through. The openness of the square to the surrounding streets, the clean design, interesting landscaping, and a variety of places to sit, have combined to make this an attractive social space, rather than (as before) a space to be avoided.

Windrush Square, Brixton, London, U…

Euston station square, London (UK). For more than 40 years this was a neglected wind and litter-swept space. Now, it has been animated with seating and stalls and cafes, and it has become very popular. A side benefit seems to be a less congested station concourse.

Euston station square, London (UK).…

An attractive new square in central Milton Keynes (UK). On a warm June day in 2010 the space provided a welcome contrast to the lifeless boulevards and car parks that dominated CMK for so long. As the city grows, so there will be more people to populate new public spaces like this one.

An attractive new square in central…

Simple treatment of the space in front of a public building set back from the main frontage line has succeeded in creating an informal social space. It is helped by being south-facing. Queen's Hall, Newtownards, Northern Ireland (taken in 2009).

Simple treatment of the space in fr…

Octavia Hill Park provides respite from the densely built areas of north Southwark (London). The scale of The Shard, under construction in the background, may be judged from the fact that it is 600 metres away. (Taken September 2011)

Octavia Hill Park provides respite …

Bonn Square, Oxford, UK. Oxford is famous for its colleges and courtyards, but there are surprisingly few informal public spaces in the centre. Bonn Square has been created on the site of a church and graveyard, and is popular due to its proximity to the shopping areas and main bus stops. The raised site also lends an air of theatricality.

Bonn Square, Oxford, UK. Oxford is …

The benefits of genuine mixed use areas can be experienced in Poblenou, a quarter of Barcelona away from the tourist trail. High density building is complemented by many small shops, community facilities, and the lively promenade shown here (taken October 2008).

The benefits of genuine mixed use a…

Seven Dials is well known as one of the first

Seven Dials is well known as one of…

A spontaneous game of badminton broke out in Hildreth Street market (Balham, London). The informality is wonderful. The fishmonger still has his apron on!

A spontaneous game of badminton bro…

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