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Squares form an integral part of the urban fabric, and open spaces like the square are deemed paramount for the liveability of our cities. This entry traces the historical roots of squares in the urban and subsequently unpacks how they improve the quality of urban life.

The word piazza refers to the Italian word for an open square in the city and at the same time hints at the historical antecedents of modern-day squares. In most urban settings, squares are public spaces, that is, they are generally open to the public although in some cases heavily controlled. The square in the public imagination and as manifest in many planning policy documents is intended to be an all-inclusive open-air living room from which people accrue economic benefit ...

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