Vital public places - squares, post office steps, playgrounds, street corners - are centres of joyful celebration, heartbroken communion, civic discussion, or for simply hanging out. Squares is intended to help designers, planners, public officials, students, developers, and community leaders understand the history and theories of public commons, elicit community dialogue and desires, respond to the natural and built environment, and design compelling places. Mark C Childs contends that places built to support conviviality are critical components of a good town. He includes theory, brief case studies, and 126 design queries and discussions. Childs explores the design implications of the automobile, electronic media, the natural environment, urban furniture and structures, public safety, and public art. Interspersed with Childs' text are brief essays by other authors addressing particular kinds of public spaces: parks, urban beaches, farmers' markets, and community gardens.
Mark C. Childs is assistant professor of architecture and director of the Design and Planning Assistance Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. Childs is also the author of Parking Spaces: A Design, Implementation, and Use Manual for Architects, Planners, and Engineers.