City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Best urban spaces

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Russell Davies and I have cooked up a little project, inspired by Andrew Hudson-Smith’s World’s Worst Urban Spaces and Places idea. It didn’t take a leap of genius to realise that we – being “mindless optimists”, as Russell put it – would be interested in the World’s Best Urban Spaces and Places. We asked Andrew if he was OK with that, and he kindly said yes. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re also trying out the same broadly collaborative approach to building our list, which means you get to contribute.

Russell has more info here, but it’s very simple: we’re using a Flickr group, so you join that and then send appropriate photos of great urban spaces or places to the group. (Once you’ve joined our group, use the ‘Send to group’ function above your photo. If you don’t have a Flickr account, you can sign up for free.) Once we’ve a suitably rich set, we’ll filter it down, and publish the best in a free downloadable pamphlet form, with a more stylish printed offering for sale (though free to successful contributors).

For the purposes of this project, I’m not overly worried about the knotty definitions of ‘place’ or ‘space’ – or even how you choose to interpret ‘best’ (the academic within will worry over that, but really, you shouldn’t). It’ll just be interesting to see what emerges. And I’m also aware that a photo-centric project will not allow much in the way of sound or other sensory information, or memory, but it’ll do. Yahoo’s maps integration is so clunky that it’s not going to be worth fully exploiting that layer, at least initially, but we do ask that you use photo’s caption area to describe the place a bit. That would be both useful and informative.

The places and spaces don’t all have to have the perceived gravitas of a Piazza San Marco or a Greenwich Village, either. It could simply be a bench, a garden, a market, a tram stop, a library … it’s your call.

Enough preamble. We’ve already built up quite a few contributions – 75 at time of writing – so have a browse and over to you.

World’s Best Urban Places and Spaces [Flickr]


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