The Revitalization of the American Downtown: A Network of Public Squares in Richmond, Virginia
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In Europe, public squares are outdoor living rooms where people experience vibrant urban life in community with others. Well defined streets and squares work together to create a rich spatial experience for people moving through cities. American cities often lack this strong tradition of public space and experienced serious decline during the mid-20th century. Now as urban populations are increasing, it is time to re-invigorate the public realm of our urban areas. This thesis proposes an enhanced network of public squares in the downtown of Richmond, VA, a typical mid-sized city whose downtown is experiencing a resurgence. Using extensive precedent analysis, the investigation will apply design principles and typological characteristics to three proposed public squares in Richmond. The goals are to create catalysts for new development in the downtown and to encourage a renewed pedestrian experience of the city.