Arcades are one of those wonderful urban devices - they make life much better anywhere the climate is scorching or wet, for they provide excellent shelter from the elements while still keeping people in contact with the street. They are usually very graceful elements, based as they almost always are on the arch form.
Entire cities, such as Bologna, have been based on the incorporation of this device into virtually all buildings, which makes for a nearly continuous protection from the elements. In many areas, the inclusion of arcades would make carfree cities far more acceptable to many people.
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