Times Square: How a city square should not be

The famous Times Square in New York draws tourists from all over the world and many New Yorkers are very proud of it.

The square is, in my humble view, exactly how a nice city square should not be: it’s full of traffic, aggressive neon lights with commercial advertisements, there are no nice cafés with tables outside, there isn’t something truly beautiful in the center, like a fountain or a sculpture.

Let’s take a look how in old Europe, the old city center squares were made, and still are often; peaceful. Romantic, because you can actually hear each other when you whisper and not hear the sounds of cars instead.

Of course what adds to the fun of walking around on a nice square in old Europe, such as the Piazza Navona in Rome, or the Market Square in Haarlem, the Netherlands, is that you have all kinds of small shops. They are set in the decorum of traditional architecture. Street lanterns are also often made in a traditional style.

Peacefulness, traditional architecture, healthy and tasty food in elegant restaurants and cafés, a monumental fountain or sculpture…it all adds to the truly romantic atmosphere in old European city centers.

So why don’t modern city planners start to learn from our ancestors?

EDITORS NOTE: Featured image is courtesy of Brucephoto. The photographer does not in any way endorse the author or this commentary. The featured photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported