Your browser has javascript turned off or blocked. This will lead to some parts of our website to not work properly or at all. Turn on javascript for best performance.

The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Default user image.

Mirek Dymitrow

Postdoctoral fellow

Default user image.

The effigy of urbanity or a rural parody? A visual approach to small-town public space


  • Mirek Dymitrow

Summary, in English

The urban square has been a distinguishing characteristic of European cities for millennia. However, in the context of small towns, where the square is often the sole identifier of their physical urbanity, its role differs from that of large towns. This fact is substantial within national administrative systems that endorse desirable urban status to rural settlements endowed with urban morphology. It is also important in times of extensive EU-subsidized actions aimed at improving the quality of public space in small underresourced towns. However, many projects fail to draw from and respond to the specifics of the local context, and, by focusing on the details and disregarding the basics, they may defeat their purpose. Departing from extensive field observations in Poland, this paper puts theoretical framework and current trends in urban design into relation to various elements of a square's spatial configuration in order to arrive at degrees of their urban significance. By interpreting the fundamental values embedded in the morphology of market squares, this paper attempts to isolate the cultural archetypes that shape our perception of such places as urban. The proposed analysis could be used to meet the main goal of market square revitalization, namely to visually articulate urbanity.

Publishing year







Journal of Cultural Geography





Document type

Journal article


Taylor & Francis


  • Human Geography


  • market square
  • Poland
  • public space
  • revitalization
  • small town
  • urban-rural




  • ISSN: 0887-3631