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Great Public Space: Bienville Square

One of the earliest photos of Mobile’s Bienville Square.

One of the earliest photos of Mobile’s Bienville Square.

Courtesy of the Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of South Alabama, from the E. O. Zadek Jewelry Co., Mobile in Photo-Gravure: From Recent Negatives (New York: Albertype Co., 1892).

The American Planning Association picked Mobile’s Bienville Square as one of the 10 best public spaces in the nation for 2012. The association especially noted the downtown square’s design, with radial walkways to a central fountain and its canopy of live oaks, creating a relaxing spot for residents and tourists in the shadow of the downtown skyline.

“Bienville Square stands as a testament to Mobile’s resilience, its character, its historic beauty, and as a welcoming public venue that lights the path to our city’s hospitality,” said Mayor Sam Jones. “Sitting in the heart of our downtown, Bienville Square has weathered the revitalization of downtown and the transformation of the city’s skyline. It also serves as a reminder of some of the city’s greatest amenities, notably in the canopy of oak trees, the azaleas and a breathtaking look back into the city’s past.”

“Many consider Bienville Square the face of downtown Mobile, given the square’s central location and interesting design, the skyline views it affords, and the rich architectural details of the surrounding historic buildings,” says APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP.  “These qualities and features developed over time, through careful planning and an ongoing commitment to protect the Square’s uniqueness,” he added.

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