From The Daily Beast via Gladys We:
City squares seem to be waiting for a crowd to fill them up—to assume a collective character and confer a public identity on private individuals. They possess a theatrical quality, as if the square is a stage and everyone in it a performer, even if the assigned role is that of an audience member.
Many squares are best known for occasions when large numbers of people assemble there for a single purpose—to celebrate, to remember, to hear music, race horses, salute a leader, overthrow a government, attend a parade or an execution.
City squares are where rulers and their people meet, sometimes with unpredictable effects. A gathering of citizens can turn into an obedient herd, a violent mob, or a voice for hope. Squares can become instruments for autocratic control or democratic change.