town square

6.6-6.7 The town square “stage” for community interaction

6.7.Hungary-1-detail-f Highlights Relevant to Sustainable Design:

Town squares are significantly more prevalent in Europe than in America, and they may serve as a social asset as well as a means to reduce automobile transportation.

Our “Main Street” versus the town square may have come from the frontier and colonial horse and carriages riding into town. The follow-on is the auto culture that drove modern America. The European town square with a central monument, statue, or fountain is a rich gathering place for outside eating, recreation, entertainment, and enjoying a cup of coffee or a local wine. See chapter 9, Big City 2: Los Angeles for a comparison to the Sixteenth Street Mall solution in Denver, Colorado.

The Hungarian crest or shield is loaded with many symbols like alternating stripes, double cross, and the jeweled crown, worn by Saint Stephen, the first Christian king of Hungary in 1001. Only when the Iron Curtain fell did the crest legally appear on anything from buildings to flags.

The link between the town square and the crest is about pride and brand identity. When the Soviet Union occupied Eastern Europe over the second half of the twentieth century, they denied the residents of countries like Hungary their identity. The town squares would typically have crests and flags visible, given that important civic buildings like city hall were part of the squares. We have been fortunate in America to maintain our identity, and bringing life back to main streets and town squares over shopping malls could further reinforce our sense of community.

(The following larger sketchbook section is for perspective on subsequent content.)


Author and illustrator: Charlie Szoradi is an architect, inventor, and the CEO of Independence LED Lighting. He writes about many other topics related to town square advantages through his extensive travels around the world.

If you have found this posting online, it is an excerpt from Mr. Szoradi’s book Learn from Looking that served as the inspiring seed content for this drawing share resource. For additional drawings and insights on town square urban planning, we hope that you enjoy exploring You can search via general terms such as sustainability as well as narrower terms such as town square and reduce automobile transportation.


Related Posts