Public space – Public life survey Since gaining independence from Russia the Latvian capital has been in a process of intense structural transformation. In 2005 Gehl Architects started to advise the city to develop a strategic framework to preserve and improve the streets and squares in the historic city centre - a UNESCO world heritage site.The masterplan developed proposes the transformation of a former Soviet Army installation of 36 hectares into a major new city district. A sophisticated public realm structure inspired by the hanseatic heritage of the city provides a framework for medium and high density development.>> Behnisch ArchitectsDuring WW2 the centre of Rotterdam was heavily bombed and subsequently rebuilt under the influence of planning paradigms from the 1950s and 1960s, introducing some of the first car-free streets in a modern European city. Since then the popular pedestrian environment has gradually worn down and in 2006 Gehl Architects was asked to produce strategies to improve conditions for public life and increase the quality of the public realm. Suggestions include a reduction of traffic barriers, clarifying the character of existing public space, celebrating the city’s waterways and upgrading the aesthetic quality of the public spaces.