Great Place Wednesday: Mirabell Gardens; Salzburg, Austria

Experiencing the great places of Europe inevitably involves strolling vast, open gardens. Today they may seem like quiet, pleasant places, but these gardens always have histories  behind them. Often they are symbols of power, oppression, and war-time plunder.  The Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria were built as a symbol of the power for their owner,[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Old Town San Diego, CA

This summer I spent a week in the San Diego area, my first visit there in many years. We spent an afternoon exploring San Diego’s Old Town, which is truly a great place: San Diego’s Old Town is unique in that it was basically abandoned for a more strategic site for the city, a few[…]

Great Place Wednesday: The Sacred Way; Beijing, China

Located  few miles outside of urban Beijing are the Ming Dynasty tombs.  Leading to the tombs is The Sacred Way, a form of the “spirit way,” a style of design as common in royal Chinese tombs as pyramids were to the Egyptian pharaohs.   The Sacred Way begins with the Red Gate, a large entry building[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Champ de Mars; Paris, FR

The Champ de Mars is one of Paris’s largest open spaces, and gives a perfect example of French garden style.  Originally part of the military’s marching and drilling grounds, the park space has hosted the Worlds Fair four times, in 1867, 1878, 1889, and 1900.  It was in 1889 that the park’s most famous feature[…]

City Comforts: Build to the Sidewalk

David Sucher’s definitive book on urban design, City Comforts, documents the fine details of “creating an urban village.”  Each mini-chapter documents a single concept of urban design that makes urban life possible, and even enjoyable.  No one experiences the city on the scale that many planners think: large blocks of “zones” intended to prevent “incompatible[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Preseren Square; Ljubljana, Slovenija

Preseren Square (Presernev Trg) lies at the physical and psychological heart of Ljubljana, and the nation of Slovenia.   Several auto and pedestrian routes converge on this relatively small space, and as a result it is the place where people meet up, hang out, and spend time enjoying the idyllic setting of the city.  Having spent[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Salt Lake City Library

Here at VODA, we aspire to help our clients design great places.  Whether its a private residence or a community general plan, we use our design experience and policy understanding to craft great places of many different sizes.  We’ve seen great places all over the world, and are starting a weekly “Great Place Wednesday” to[…]