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Porphyry, Placemaking and Public Space

Porphyry stone paving can be an essential ingredient, one of many, that contributes the element of permanence, beauty and sustainability to a place. It is a material that defines a space as comfortable, memorable, elegant and special.  It helps people want to go there.

Public spaces are increasingly being recognized as a crucial ingredient for successful cities and for their ability to revitalize and create economic and social development opportunities. But actually finding ways to build and maintain healthy public space remains elusive to many municipal governments, especially in the developing world. The vast web of streets, parks, plazas, and courtyards that define the public realm is often lacking, too poorly planned, or without adequate citizen participation in the design process.

Recognizing these challenges, the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) released earlier this month a draft of their handbook Placemaking and the Future of Cities. It’s intended to serve as a best practices guide for those wishing to improve the economic, environmental and social health of their communities through the power of successful public space.

10 fundamental principles for placemaking have been identified by PPS as the keys to vibrant, safe, and attractive public spaces: The report sets out 10 principles for successful placemaking in cities and a series of case studies from the global south. While the focus is on the global south the principles are universal and the case studies present examples of how these principles can be implemented in an urban setting. Brief but inspiring, this document is a prompt to further learning on how placemaking can add real value to the future development of our cities.

Download the Guide

Every community has some sort of public space, even if it is not immediately apparent. Sometimes it is obvious — a shady park with walking paths and benches; a boulevard lined with sidewalks, a grand plaza surrounded by government buildings. But public space is also what we find in between private spaces, and is not always recognized or honored as public. Back alleys, neglected courtyards, and stairways may escape our notice — but these are nonetheless among a city’s most underutilized and potentially valuable assets. Because they belong to everybody, they are perceived as belonging to nobody. And yet if they are claimed, and owned, and developed, they can be harnessed to strengthen and enrich their communities.

When municipalities are struggling economically, investment in public spaces may be seen as a non-essential response. In the Global South, establishing the minimum conditions for proper public space — safety and cleanliness— can be a particular challenge. But the truth is that even a small investment in quality public space delivers a manifold return to the cities with the foresight to see its value. By strengthening the social fabric, providing economic opportunity, and boosting the well-being of citi­zens, public space can make limited resources go further and enrich the community both socially and monetarily.

 

About Project for Public Spaces (PPS)

“We are a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Our pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.”

Images Courtesy of Project for Public Spaces

Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These beautiful materials are available from Milestone Imports.   Milestone supports the creativity of architects, planners and designers. Porphyry offers surfaces of various finishes and mixed colorings, tending towards tones of grey, gold, violet and red, depending on where it is extracted.  –  www.milestoneimports.com