The Everyday Squares Manual (download here) by Urban Design Associates methodically walks through the essential criteria, dimensions, and life that Everyday Squares bring to town and neighborhood building. The information is culled from interviews with owners and operators, measuring, and drawing. It is structured to be a useful and intuitive benchmarking and design tool.
Everyday Squares stand to teach us living lessons about the naunced development of lasting, memorable places. Few of the examples within this document exist in a vacuum and have quantifiable impacts on their surroundings.
Hierarchy of Undertaking
Everyday Squares exist across a broad spectrum and are achieved through varying degrees of timing, investment, and scale. The resulting typologies vary from redevelopment of underutilized sites, to adaptive reuse, to new construction. The hierarchy of squares are organized along three tracks:
Timing: While all Everyday Squares are part of neighborhood vibrancy, not all come on-line early. Some are first adopters and pioneers where others are better suited to be developed in later phases.
Startup Capital: Often the greatest creativity emerges out of the tightest of budgets and spawns an authentic, practical, and often magical place. As the undertaking grows in scope, the creation of the square requires greater debt or equity capitalization.
Size: Everyday Squares range from small, urban acupuncture to sizeable undertakings that require property acquisition, partners, and greater levels of coordination.
A common mis-step in attempting to implement vibrant, resilient places is over-extending the scope and scale of what is realistically achievable or required in early phases. The urban dimensions of Everyday Squares offer important guidance on how to position, size, and choreograph places such that they not only provide a neighborhood’s “third place” but sustain the requisite multiplier effect on the neighborhood. Such an orientation allows the success of the enterprise to compound the success of the neighborhood and permits the neighborhood to compound the viability of the enterprise.