The ‘outdoor cafe square

Continuing our look at the outdoor cafe scene this week…

How would creatives identify the heart of their neighborhood? With a central square surrounded (or filled completely) with casual dining tables, served by cafes and restaurants – the outdoor cafe square.

Again, this is not an experience reserved for warmer climates – the scene above is from Amsterdam, which happens to be north of London, and certainly colder than New York City and Seattle.

The guidelines for an outdoor cafe square are:
– Pedestrian-only (preferred) or narrow driving lanes just outside of the seating areas fronting the dining establishments that border the square.
– Because these squares are at the neighborhood scale, the buildings are much more human-scaled, and ideally individually detached rather than mid-rise blocks.
– Local, independent businesses, especially third places, for the same reasons above.
– Shading trees are very common.

Photo of Leidseplein, Amsterdam, Netherlands by dutchamsterdam.nl