Public squares as a means of integrating economy, environment and society in British city centres

Bob Giddings

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Sustainable Development is invariably epitomised by economy, environment and society represented as three equal sized rings in symmetrical interconnection. This assumes a separation, even autonomy, and detracts from the fundamental connections. Much debate is now centred on how to integrate these sectors, rather than seeking trade-offs between them. Up to the 20th Century, public squares, offered clear examples of this integration as they are representative of the values of the society that created them. There are numerous examples from different time periods in a variety of cultures. In the second half of the 20th Century, British cities experienced increasing competition for space, which partly led to domination by market economies. As city centres became commodities, more devices were employed to attract consumers. One of the most significant was the indoor shopping centre. As malls were constructed over city streets, increasingly public space became privatised. The public sector is now experiencing substantial decline and the balanced model of economy, environment and society has been grossly distorted. Social capital may be a means of regaining equilibrium. This paper will demonstrate the significance of squares in sustaining vibrant communities; and consider mechanisms for their re-introduction as a means of contributing to the integration of economy, environment and society.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008
EventSustainable Building World Conference - Melbourne
Duration: 1 Sept 2008 → …


ConferenceSustainable Building World Conference
Period1/09/08 → …


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