Miquel Martí Casanovas
Estanislau Roca


Public spaces should be places that support an intense civic life. They have been so throughout history, even if in each culture and historical period they have taken very different shapes and followed different design principles. Nevertheless, during the XX century, the Modern Movement faced some difficulties in dealing with public spaces. Too many times the zoning approach opposed the complexity, mix of uses and intensity required by lively public spaces, where social encounters and knowledge exchanges are made possible. In the XXI century, public spaces regained a major role in city projects and urban strategies all over the world. Their appearance was enriched by new forms. Besides the traditional squares, parks and promenades of compact cities, new metropolitan open spaces and collective places related to transport network nodes emerged. This paper focuses on the urban design of such contemporary collective places. Based on an overview of the historical evolution of public spaces, we identify some design principles (from the overlap of scales to acupuncture strategies, through to the complexity of relations between urban architectures) necessary to ensure that metropolitan nodes emerge as places full of urbanity rather than as deserted non places.


How to Cite
Martí Casanovas, M. and Roca, E. (2017) “Urban visions for the architectural project of public space”, The Journal of Public Space, 2(2), pp. 13–26. doi: 10.5204/jps.v2i2.89.
Author Biographies

Miquel Martí Casanovas, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Miquel Martí Casanovas has a PhD in Urbanism and he is assistant professor at the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia since 2001. Civil Engineer and Master in Political Sciences at Sciences Po Paris, his field of research is the contemporary public space (from its design to the experiences it generates, through the public policies transforming it). Expert in the evolution of public space in Barcelona, he has extended the scope of his research in this field to several European cities, as well as to some American and Asian experiences. He collaborates regularly with other Universities in these three continents through research stays (Harvard 2004, TU Delft 2007, Tongji 2010) and joint projects. He complements his academic career with a professional office dedicated to urban planning for several towns in Catalonia.

Estanislau Roca, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

PhD architect, he is currently Director of Urban and Regional Planning Department at the Polytechnic University of Catalunya. Chair professor, he teaches several subjects for undergraduate and PhD studies at the School of Architecture of Barcelona [ETSAB-UPC]. He works at different scales the territory, the city and the place, as well as designing public buildings and public spaces. Author of more than a dozen books and numerous research papers, he has won some prestigious teaching, architecture and urbanism awards.


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