[Tagging] Updating definition and description of place=square

Greg Troxel gdt at lexort.com
Sun Mar 29 19:24:07 UTC 2020

Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com> writes:

> Frankly, I am not really familiar with the situation in North America
> (besides some lessons about North American urbanism I have heard 20
> years ago). I am aware there are some developments that imitate 19th
> century architecture, so even if many or most of the traditional city
> centers have been razed in the sixties, I would still expect to find
> at least some squares in north america.

There are lots of things that are like many other things, as many came
from various places.

> If you have a look at the wikipedia article on Times Square, it also
> mentions its nature as a town square: “ Times Square functions as a
> town square”

Yes, but that says "functions as", not "meets the picky definition of
the osm tag place=square".  And if written by Americans, those words are
colored by their understanding of meaning.

> https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_Square
> It is also a model example in that it lies at the junction of import streets and is emphasized by the adjacent architecture.

I never had the impression adjacent architecture mattered.

> The existence of squares is not a recent or European invention, for
> example you’ll find squares in arabic or Chinese cities as well
> (you’ll indeed find them almost everywhere), here’s a list of some
> famous squares worldwide:
> https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_city_squares

What I meant is that there are many places with square in the name that
aren't, and I think we're leading to mistagging due to different
understandings of words.  I know the OSM tagging system says that tokens
in tag mean what they are defined, not what they seem to say, but
interpreting the tokens as words with national meaning is too easy.

> Supposedly we would not want to have different specific top level
> place tags for neighbourhoods, depending on name components, so using
> place=square for neighborhoods seems not a sensible interpretation of
> the tag, I guess we can agree on this?

Yes.  Except that "neighborhood" is probably even not quite right.   In
New England usage the indistinct extent of "Foo Square" is much smaller
than what one might call a neighhborhood.

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