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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 have been shared and discussed with everyone here over the past few months.

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This year’s PPN survey, conducted back in January, will soon be superseded by a new survey for 2014, with a different set of questions and a new focus that we hope will elicit as many thoughtful and surprising responses as this year’s survey. Our final review of the 2013 survey consists of ASLA staff’s favorite answers. From heartfelt and evocative to funny and flippant, the staff picks below highlight the range and candor of the survey’s responses.

Favorite iconic space
• “Can't pick one. Every space has its own spirit if it is done well. Many appeal to me for different reasons.”
• “Edible landscapes: love the change in seasons, being able to reach something to eat, experiencing the creeping bugs and winged insects.”
• “Paley Park, New York City. When I stumbled upon this space, as a 17-year-old, it was an epiphany! I decided on the spot that I wanted to devote my life to creating elegant public spaces. I was particularly struck by how unprepossessing this small vacant lot—a lot dwarfed by nondescript buildings—must have seemed prior to the realization of the designers’ vision.”
• “Central Park is the heart of New York City and allows it to function without exploding!”
• “The city of Paris. There’s nothing you can’t see or do in Paris—you can see amazing art, eat great food, wander in little out-of-the-way neighborhoods, AND see great landscape architecture, too.”
• “Yosemite Valley. Words cannot describe.”

Designed space
• “The Champs-Elysées, Paris. Are you kidding? Have you been there? It is a place where people become part of the landscape. The cafés spill out on to the streets. Every tiny detail regarding aesthetics has been attended to. The experience of walking the corridor is entertaining. There are things to do and people to watch. There is no hurry. There are no fears for safety. The buildings create enclosure and they have continuity of architecture. The plant material has a delicateness to it. There are magnificent focal points.”
• “Machu Picchu. Because the Incas knew how to plan and build better than we do today.”
• “The piazza in Siena. It is one of the most pleasant and functional urban spaces on earth. The scale is perfect, the design is elegant and understated, the coffee is superb.”
• “Central Park…[because] it is designed, not naturally occurring.”
• “TBD.”

Space every child should experience
• “A zoo. Lions and tigers and bears and...an interactive outdoor experience for children of all ages.”

Space you are most worried about losing
• “Ellis Island, New York City. This is the iconic doorway to America and the real image of our country to much of the world.”
• “Keller Fountain, Portland. It's a thrilling place—scaled for the West Coast and reflective of the region’s natural environment. Its potential danger is part of the thrill—the power of nature demands respect. But today the public fear of injury and litigation puts severe limits on designers (not all bad). The concrete and blocky forms are no longer in fashion, and some fail to see its majesty. We have lost other Lawrence Halprin-designed spaces already.”

Space for lingering
• “Anywhere there are trees and benches is good enough for me.”

Small, but mighty space
• “Highland Hammocks State Park, Florida. Eerie, mysterious marsh boardwalks through native Floridian landscape of the state’s interior with beautiful views of native trees.”
• “Indian Rock in Berkeley, California. Distinctive rock that people of all ages climb up to see the view of the San Francisco Bay and watch the sunset. Rock climbers play on the faces. A long history of famous climbers learning there.”
• “The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C. For those of us who lived through the Vietnam War, this space creates a lump in the throat, a pause in our everyday lives with a minimalist palette.”
• “On top of Glastonbury Tor, England. The small grassy area at the top of this naked, high, steep hill, springing up from countryside that is completely flat for miles around, is reached by a winding trail with origins in Neolithic British peoples. Sheep graze; legends of King Arthur and Jesus are entwined here. The tiny box of a ruined chapel with carved graffiti from centuries ago does not spoil the 360-degree view. Beneath, forbidden to visitors, lie monks’ cells carved into the Tor. You can examine the blades of grass, watch for oncoming armies miles away, lie on your back and watch the clouds. It’s big and little, historic, layered, beautiful!”

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