note: size

The main slogan is: ‘keep a square as small as possible’. On a plan a square always looks smaller than it will be experienced in reality. Alexander relates the size of the surface to the number of people on it. To make a square feel pleasant and not deserted, he alleges there is a maximum of 90 square meter a person.

Size_squareThere is a big difference between the maximum size of a square, confirming Alexander or Sitte. Alexander claims the squares width should be 14 til 18 meters, with a absolute maximum of 21 meters (the grey rectangles in the illustration aside). With this distance, you can still recognise faces. With the maximum proportion of 1:3 a square could be 42 til 54, or maximum 63 meters deep. Sitte presumes a square can be a lot larger, at maximum 58 meters width and 143 meters deep (the largest square in the illustration aside). This seems to be very large. With 90 m² per person this maximum square needs 92 pedestrians for preventing it to feel deserted.

A large square would fit in a big city, but in normal circumstance I recommend a square with a wide smaller than 30 meters (the red rectangle).

Size_landmarkSitte also describes the relationship between the squares depth and the height of the main building. “A good proportion between the size of a plaza and that of its buildings is of primary importance”. Roughly, the depth in front of the main building is 1 to 2 times the buildings height. Contrary, the main building should be minimum half the size the depth of the square in front of it.




– Out off the theories and analyses from this site I formed some notes with my own perspective on urban squares to help making choices at designing them.




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