The value of public space – a town square in a small urban community

Kraljik, David (2014) The value of public space – a town square in a small urban community. [USQ Project]


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In Western society, planned public space in the form of town squares has been evident since around 500 B.C. Historically, public town squares have not been included in planning schemes of Australian urban planners and policy makers. This is particularly evident in Melbourne, until the recent development and success of Federation Square. This success has prompted a surge in the development of town squares particularly in small urban communities throughout Victoria. The historical omission of public town squares within Australia has resulted in a lack of local literature available concerning town squares and a particular lack concerning the values that communities attach to the public town square. This raises the question of, what social values can be placed on the presence of a public town square in a small urban community?

The aim of the research was to determine the significance of the values from an Australian perspective, with consideration of the historic function, meaning and purpose of the square and the significance of town squares to modern communities. To help bridge the gap in the local literature, the research included existing literature from Western Europe and North America; current Australian planning theories; and analysis and observations at an existing town square as the basis for a framework for the development of public town squares. The application of the resultant framework provided direction and guidance to accomplish the secondary goal, the development of a public town square in the small urban community of Bacchus Marsh in Victoria, including the drafting of a concept design.

It was concluded that the social, cultural and economic values that communities attach to public town squares and the historical function, meaning and purpose of the square have remained to this day important to the community. Amongst other benefits, a successful town square can improve the physical health and wellbeing of community members which is critical in today’s social environment. The framework although limited by the absence of community consultation was functional and able to be used to create the desired sustainable concept design in Bacchus Marsh, a town square that would provide long lasting value to the community.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Spatial Science (Surveying) project.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Basson, Marita; Grant, Paula
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2015 04:58
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2016 04:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: public space; town square; social values; community; small urban community; social environment; Bacchus Marsh
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090505 Infrastructure Engineering and Asset Management
12 Built Environment and Design > 1205 Urban and Regional Planning > 120508 Urban Design
09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090701 Environmental Engineering Design
12 Built Environment and Design > 1205 Urban and Regional Planning > 120504 Land Use and Environmental Planning
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4005 Civil engineering > 400508 Infrastructure engineering and asset management
33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330411 Urban design
40 ENGINEERING > 4011 Environmental engineering > 401199 Environmental engineering not elsewhere classified
33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330404 Land use and environmental planning

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