[Tagging] Please fix unnamed square tagging / was: ... description of place=square

Martin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Tue Mar 24 01:13:51 UTC 2020

sent from a phone

> On 23. Mar 2020, at 15:07, Joseph Eisenberg
> In Indonesia an "alun-alun" is never small, they are always rather
> large to very large open areas.

so these are likely not the only kind of squares in Indonesia (if you decide they are squares at all, or some of them), there will probably also be smaller ones.

> Many are grassy fields with a few trees, planted north and south of an
> old palace, or as a parade ground for the military back in the
> colonial era, and these are mostly tagged as leisure=park, because
> they are grass and trees now. These are mainly for recreation and for
> looking nice.
> Some are now playing fields, like soccer pitches + volleyball /
> basketball courts
> A few are still police/military parade grounds (not many), grass or grass/dirt.
> But some have pavement (often pavers, sometimes bricks, concrete,
> asphalt, stone etc) and are used for temporary markets, rallies,
> public events, etc. - these seem similar to a European square.

seems so by this description, although festival grounds would typically not fall in the square definition IMHO. 

I’m unsure about military parade grounds, but would tend to include them (thinking of central open areas used for mustering and surrounded by barracks)

> Should I map all of these as "place=square" since "square" =>
> "alun-alun", even though many of these alun-alun could be a
> leisure=park, leisure=garden, leisure=pitch instead?

You should get rid of the either or idea, they can be both (or squares can contain areas which are gardens, parks, maybe pitches. Actually I would exclude dedicated sports grounds generally but there could be exceptions.

> "You would usually need to see the context in order to understand
> whether these are just parks or parks on squares."
> So what about the context will tell me whether or not it is a
> place=square?

their position in the road network and the surrounding areas (is it inside a built up area?)

> It can't be out in the countryside, can it?

within a village or maybe even hamlet yes, in the open countryside usually no.

> Or a parade
> ground in a military base?


> A grass lawn in the middle of an apartment
> complex?


> A patio in a park?

I don’t understand this meaning of patio, can you post an example? A patio to me means an open space inside a block of buildings or within a building (inner courtyard)

> I think there should be a practical, physical definition of what is a
> place=square. If it doesn't have to be hardscaped (whether paved or
> just packed soil), should it at least lack tall vegetation which
> blocks views and movement?

It could have tall vegetation as a means of structuring it, or to separate it from surrounding streets, but this would usually be partial and allow passing.

> Perhaps a flat area with mostly short grass can still be a square, but
> certainly not if it is mostly covered by trees, shrubs and flower
> beds.

Here’s an example of a square in Berlin in a residential early 20th century area:




It boasts all of the features you mention (scrubs, tall trees, etc.)
From my understanding, the square polygon would share nodes with the surrounding buildings, while the park/garden is contained, but smaller (the square minus the outer sidewalk minus the street minus the inner sidewalk).

> That's a park or garden, even if it is called "Plaza de Armas"
> or "Old Village Square".

I agree that these cases could eventually be questioned, one could argue they have been squares before and are now parks. I would still count them in, or we will end up splitting hair about how much of a square must be paved in order to be a square.

WRT pedestrian spaces, here’s the centre of Paris in a Nolliplan: http://www.iad-bs.de/site/assets/files/1954/schwarzplan.jpg
All the areas where the streets widen significantly at junctions with other streets are likely squares (you can’t see the smaller ones in this scale). The surrounding buildings will often accentuate the square (raised corners, main facade to the square etc.)
Usually there will be a relationship of streets and squares.

Another type of squares are those in front of significant/important/monumental buildings (e.g. churches, public buildings like town halls, train stations, parliaments, castles, ...)

Cheers Martin 

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