Image via Strong Towns

Many of the best places are neither home nor work, but “third places” in the public realm: streets and sidewalks, parks and cafes, theaters and sports facilities. Such public places are important venues for a wide variety of activities, of which some – such as social interaction and physical activity – have clear health implications, says a 2003 American Journal of Public Health study.

“Cultures and climates differ all over the world but people are the same. They’ll gather in public if you give them a good place to do it,” says Jan Gehl (who took the pix).

Reclaiming public space is now increasingly being done as town planners begin to recognise the importance of traffic calming for healthier living. Many urban streets around the world are now going car-free.

“Once there’s an emphasis on the quality of the public realm, you’re making life better for many, many people,” says Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk who is an architect, urban designer and professor at the University of Miami. (CNBC)