[Tagging] Definition of place=square

Martin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Thu Jul 6 10:04:34 UTC 2017

2017-07-05 19:13 GMT+02:00 Daniel Koć <daniel at koć.pl>:

> My initial proposition is to get away with languages and Wikipedia link
> and define it this way:
> "The place=square is an open space common in urban centers, like cities or
> towns. Typically this is a named pedestrian area surrounded by buildings,
> but there are also complex cases with multiple disconnected pedestrian
> areas, grass, parks, streets junctions with different names (including the
> streets named after the square or without such name), etc.".

Thank you very much for bringing this up, Daniel, it was overdue.

I don't think the definition should (exclusively) reference "urban
centers", because squares are a general property of human settlements and
can occur in all kinds of structured settlements, i.e. also in villages, or
maybe even in nomad camp sites, although the more famous and impressive
squares naturally are found in cities.

I also wouldn't say "typically it is a named pedestrian area", because this
depends on the region and is basically referring to some European
situations, where historic town centres have been pedestrianized, but it
really shouldn't be reduced to pedestrians, squares which are (now)
primarily dedicated to vehicle traffic are not an exception either.

If there are different names, these should be different objects in OSM.
"place" is about toponyms (i.e. I agree it should have a name, or not be
tagged like this).

On the other hand, I would add something saying like "squares are (usually)
public open spaces in settlements, and typically delimited by buildings"
and  "squares are, together with buildings and roads, the central spatial
elements in urbanism". "Important squares will often be decorated with
monuments like sculptures or fountains". "Important monuments and buildings
like theatres, museums, castles, churches, train stations will usually have
a square in front of them" etc.etc. Squares also played an important role
for commerce (market squares).

Let's not forget: squares have been and likely still are vital to any
democracy, as a place open to the general public and suitable for gathering
in masses. They have played a fundamental role in almost all uprisings,
think Tiananmen Square and many others. In many instances, representative
squares are major tourist attractions, like the Red Square in Moscow, Times
Square in New York, Place Charles de Gaulle in Paris, St. Peter's Square in
Rome, Piazza San Marco in Venice, just to name a few of the most famous.

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