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Great Public Spaces: What Makes a Place Great?

What is a Great Civic Space?

Civic spaces are an extension of the community. When they work well, they serve as a stage for our public lives. If they function in their true civic role, they can be the settings where celebrations are held, where exchanges both social and economic take place, where friends run into each other, and where cultures mix. They are the “front porches” of our public institutions – post offices, courthouses, federal office buildings – where we can interact with each other and with government. When cities and neighborhoods have thriving civic spaces, residents have a strong sense of community; conversely, when such spaces are lacking, people may feel less connected to each other. Great civic spaces are really great public places. They are recognized and valued in their cities and towns as places with their own special flavor that relate to and nurture the larger community and bring the public together.