Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Sustainable Urban Public Squares

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Sustainable Urban Public Squares

Article excerpt


In recent years, environmental problems across the globe request new approaches and plans in order to support natural resources. The anticipations of how long human ecological resources will be productive, has raised the level of awareness and co-operation toward sustainability [16]. It means that modern societies have become aware that the rapid growth of their communities have to be associated with ecological support system [4]. Therefore, recently, the importance of sustainable urban design has been taken into account. The concept of sustainability embraces various human activities, researches, plans, and knowledge in which three major inter-related factors of society, economy, and environment are considered [16][23].

To achieve urban renewal and sustainable development, there are many factors, which have to be taken into consideration. These factors including nature, man, society, economics, politics, culture and so forth, which influence a complex built environment from metropolis up to small parts [2]. Drawing all of these factors into attention, researchers and urban designers want to examine that how sustainable development and globalization influence human life [1].

2. Urban Public Squares

From very beginning, urban squares have been the place of public gathering and special ceremonies, since Agora in Greek till now. Agora was a square surrounded by roofed porches while inner-routs could be ended to it. That is why Agora was named as an interjection of main and secondary roads [18]. In addition to historical squares, there are different types of squares such as religious, residential, civic, educational, and commercial. Public squares have become the target of many activities. They are complex spaces, which are constituted of social, environmental, architectural, symbolic, and economical characteristics. In fact, squares contributes to history and identity of cities [5].

3. Sustainable Urban Public Squares

Sustainable development is the issue dealing with new methods and techniques in which using resources in terms of society, economy, and environment are optimized [23]. There is a conceptual model consists of tripartite classification of each environment including physical, economic, and social. In this model, to reach sustainability three factors of physical, socio-cultural, and ecological are evaluated [17]. Accordingly, to aim this goal, sustainability of urban public squares will be evaluated in terms of following factors such as physical, ecological, social, and economic [8].

3.1When is a Square Environmentally Sustainable?

In recent years, saving environment in order to meet the need of today generation without neglecting the need of future generation, has been turned into a controversial issues [24]. With regard to this, due to make an urban square environmentally sustainable, physical aspects and ecological aspects of squares should be evaluated. Environmental sustainability is the best practice to take care of urban landscape in order to design memorable squares with efficient foundation [19].

3.1.1 In terms of Physical Aspects

Squares are public places provided for gathering and various types of activities and ceremonies. Therefore, square as an interactional space has to meet some physical requirements and aspects. Physical aspects includes facilities and amenities in which make the square a place of relaxing and joy, and a platform for social, economic, and political activities [8]. Regarding to physical aspects of each urban squares, size, accessibility, furniture, and quality of physical structure should to be considered [27]. Size

Size of the square means that square should not be neither too much large nor too small. To make a square seems hospitable there are many factors, which one of them is size. Besides of hospitality, size of each square has mental messages for its users. For instance, huge squares (e. …

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