A public space without a middle is quite likely to stay empty.


Between the natural paths which cross a public square or courtyard or a piece of common land, choose something to stand roughly in the middle: a fountain, a tree, a statue, a clock-tower with seats, a windmill, a bandstand. Make it something which gives a strong and steady pulse to the square, drawing people in toward the center. Leave it exactly where it falls between the paths; resist the impulse to put it exactly in the middle.

Small Public Squares (61), Common Land (67), Courtyards Which Live (115), Path Shape (121) all draw their life from the activities around their edges - Activity Pockets (124) and Stair Seats (125). But even then, the middle is still empty, and it needs embellishment.

Connect the different “somethings” to one another with the path system - Paths and Goals (120). They may include High Places (62), Dancing in the Street (63), Pools and Streams (64), Public Outdoor Room (69), Still Water (71), Tree Places (171); make sure that each one has a Sitting Wall (243) around it …

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 606low-confidence