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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Great cities celebrate the season

Kaid Benfield

Posted December 21, 2012 in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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  Tokyo (by Gideon Davidson)

  Tokyo (by Gideon Davidson)

As I have written before, it is impossible to have a great community without great public spaces - appealing and accommodating streets, sidewalks, parks, storefronts, plazas, accessible cafes, and so on.  Transit systems, too, are an important form of public space, albeit one that moves.  These are the essence of what many city planners and thinkers call "the public realm," to contrast with the realm of privately owned and secured homes, yards, and private office buildings.  People love communities from Paris to Santa Monica precisely because their public spaces are so enticing.  The best ones really come alive at this time of year:

  Paris (c2012 FK Benfield)

  Paris (by me)

  Chicago (by Devyn Caldwell)

  Chicago (by Devyn Caldwell)

  Copenhagen (by: Andy Revkin, creative commons)

  Copenhagen (by Andy Revkin)

  Rostock, Germany (by: Carston Pescht, creative commons)

  Rostock, Germany (by Carsten Pescht)

  New York (by: Luke Redmond, creative commons)

  New York (by Luke Redmond)

  Nantes (c2012 FK Benfield)

  Nantes (by me)

  Dublin (by Katie King)

  Dublin (by Katie King)

  Vancouver (by: Tom Maglieri, creative commons)

  Vancouver (by Tom Maglieri)

  Prague (by: Hynek Moravec, creative commons)

  Prague (by Hynek Moravec)

  London (by: Mika Ueno, creative commons)

  London (by Mika Ueno)

  Manila (by: Stefan Magdalinski, creative commons)

  Manila (by Stefan Magdalinski)

  Paris (c2012 FK Benfield)

  Paris (by me)

  Stockholm (by: Brian Colson, creative commons)

  Stockholm (by Brian Colson)

  Tokyo (by: Gideon Davidson, creative commons)

  Tokyo (by Gideon Davidson)

  Chicago (by: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, creative commons)

  Chicago (by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar)

  San Francisco (by: Todd Laipn, creative commons)

  San Francisco (by Todd Lapin)

  Sao Paolo (by: Andrés David Aparicio Alonso, creative commons)

  Sao Paolo (by Andrés David Aparicio Alonso)

  Washington (by: Ahmed Meta-Man, creative commons)

  Washington (by Ahmed Meta-Man)

  Colmar (by: Rémi Stosskopf, creative commons)

  Colmar (by Rémi Stosskopf)

Peace and goodwill to all.

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Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in other national media.  For more posts, see his blog's home page.  Please also visit NRDC’s Sustainable Communities Video Channels.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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