Plaza ( /ˈplɑːzə/; Castilian or Latin American ) is a Spanish word related to "field" which describes an open urban public space, such as a city square. All through Spanish America and the Spanish East Indies, the plaza mayor of each center of administration held three closely related institutions: the cathedral, the cabildo or administrative center, which might be incorporated in a wing of a governor's palace, and the audiencia or law court. The plaza might be large enough to serve as a military parade ground. At times of crisis or fiesta, it was the space where a large crowd might gather. Like the Italian piazza, the plaza remains a center of community life that is only equaled by the market-place.

Most colonial cities in Spanish America and the Philippines were planned around a square plaza de armas, where troops could be mustered, as the name implies, surrounded by the governor's palace and the main church. A plaza de toros is a bullring.

In modern usage, a plaza can be any gathering place on a street or between buildings, a street intersection with a statue, etc. Today's metropolitan landscapes often incorporate the "plaza" as a design element, or as an outcome of zoning regulations, building budgetary constraints, and the like. Sociologist William H. Whyte conducted an extensive study of plazas in New York City: his study humanized the way modern urban plazas are conceptualized, and helped usher in significant design changes in the making of plazas.

Cognates of the word plaza include Italian piazza, Portuguese praça, French place, Catalan plaça and Romanian piața.

Read more about Plaza:  Examples, Shopping Center

Other articles related to "plaza":

Plaza - Shopping Center
... City, Missouri in 1922, knowingly took the name of "Country Club Plaza" and adopted Spanish architectural details ... More recently plaza has been used to describe a shopping complex, similar to a shopping mall, borrowing its connotations of a center of cultural life ... Examples Pantip Plaza (Bangkok), Bintang Plaza (Miri), Kuching Plaza (Kuching), Plaza Las Américas (San Juan), Plaza de las Estrellas (Mexico City), Central Plaza ...
Westlake Center Plaza
... Westlake Center Plaza is on the corner of 4th Ave ... The plaza is covered in gray pavers and holds several small trees ... The plaza has several crime-element concerns (that are not any different than the rest of downtown Seattle) and is often monitored by the security contracted by the mall ...
West Virginia State Capitol - Description of The Capitol Plaza
... The front of the building faces the Kanawha River, and the entire capitol plaza is bordered by Kanawha Boulevard East (also known as U.S ... Formerly, Washington Street passed through the plaza, but was closed off for pedestrian use ... centered on a fountain, one of three in the plaza ...
Country Club Plaza
... The Country Club Plaza (often referred to as The Plaza) is an American upscale shopping district and residential neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri ... designed architecturally after Seville, Spain, the Plaza comprises high-end retail establishments, restaurants, and entertainment venues, as well as offices ... The neighborhoods surrounding the Plaza consist of apartment buildings and upscale houses, especially those of the Country Club District built along Ward ...
One Meridian Plaza - After The Fire
... By February 26 city officials had determined One Meridian Plaza was not in danger of collapse ... The streets and buildings around One Meridian Plaza were closed and cordoned off ... The 20-story Morris Building and several three-story shops behind One Meridian Plaza on Chestnut Street were damaged by falling debris and sat unused for years ...