Theses Master's

Assessing the Publicness of Pedestrian Plazas Built Under the 2007 NYC Plaza Program

Liao, Lorraine

The purpose of this thesis is to assess the “publicness” of pedestrian plazas under its development guidelines from the NYC Plaza Programs (NYC Office of the Mayor, 2007) through a comparative study of private and public space. Drawing from existing models of publicness, the paper proposed a hybrid model to measure publicness and then investigated how “public” the pedestrian plazas built under the NYC Plaza Programs are using a mix methods approach of geospatial data and literature review. In the process, it simultaneously challenged underlying definitions of “publicness” and the contentions around privatization in the urban environment. The study suggests that the assessment of publicness for the NYC Plaza Programs demands a context-specific model to the program where metrics are calibrated beyond a simple hybrid of existing models. Ultimately, it is recommended that future studies for measuring publicness should include on the ground observations and fieldwork to account for the individuals who are arguably the true owners of a public space.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Vanky, Anthony
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 12, 2020