Theses Master's

Planning Sidewalks: Implications of Regulating Sidewalk Space in the East Village

Deacon, Leslie A.

Sidewalks are the city’s most public space filled with diversity of both users and uses. This variety of programs and people create conflict within this space. Physical, programmatic, and social regulations construct sidewalk space, manage diverse usage, and attempt to mitigate clash and contention. Physical and programmatic regulations of sidewalks include the spatial dimensions through setback requirements, materiality of sidewalks, permitted uses in the space, and regulation of objects with sidewalk space such as newsstands, signage, and benches. Social regulations are twofold: use of the space is controlled through social norms and accepted behavior as well as legally acceptable behavior through quality of life enforcement. This research addresses the impacts of regulating sidewalks. The purpose of this research is to understand and examine the relationship between these regulations and behavior to better understand how sidewalks function and serve as public space. This study investigates sidewalk regulations in New York City, addressing city-wide regulations and specifically focuses on the sidewalks of the East Village to understand the implications of these regulations at the scale of the community. The density of regulations, both physical and social, create a highly controlled public space. Little research has been conducted to understand the impacts of these regulations within a comprehensive scope as most studies focus on particular elements of sidewalks and specific regulations which limits the understanding of the complexity of sidewalk usage. This thesis deciphers the complex web of regulations to understand how to plan sidewalks at the city level as well as understand the direct implications these regulations on the day-to-day
pedestrians in order to recommend policies and practices to better plan sidewalks for public space.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Irazabal Zurita, Clara E.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 11, 2013