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Members of the Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) were recently surveyed about their favorite spaces. Responses were varied and had many insightful comments and suggestions, which will be shared and discussed with everyone here over the next few months.

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Throughout the survey a few locations were consistently mentioned. Over the next few weeks we’ll look at how and why these spots are so popular.

The National Mall, Washington, D.C. was one of the most-mentioned places. It was suggested in each of the following categories:
• Favorite iconic space
• Best designed space
• Child-experience space
• Space worried about losing
• Great space to move through
• Best space in a city with a network of open spaces
• Absolute favorite space

Let’s look at some of the reasons why.

Favorite iconic space
“Because of the diversity of activities that take place there and the immensity of the space.”
“Because when the Mall is filled with people gathered to demonstrate in a peaceful way you absolutely feel the power of the people in a working democracy.”
“Public space that is open and large. The dimensions alone afford every type of group or individual activities. Sometimes clean open space is enough. In this case being surrounded by high quality public architecture is a bonus.”
“The National Mall, known as America’s civic stage, is one of the most significant spaces in the country.”

Best designed space
“It’s American and iconic.”
“It represents history and peacefulness. It is a space that is designed to take in and reflect the challenges America has faced.”
“This is the heart of U.S. government. It profoundly imparts the weight, care, and importance of the work that happens there for the whole country.”
“It is an awe-inspiring space that is consistently occupied and constantly evolving—not always for the better.”
“The Mall has a historical context that expresses the change in design over time, while containing contemplative private to open public gathering spaces.”

Space worried about losing
“Too many memorials on too sacred a space. We’ve seriously departed from McMillan Commission & Olmsted’s vision.”
“It would be a loss due to benign neglect, which creates a cheap face for the nation’s capital.”

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