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Rethinking the Process and Role of Redesigning Public Spaces

by Basu, Soumi

Abstract (Summary)
Public spaces have always been an important component of urban design and city making. With the changing dynamics of cities, the public realm has been substantially affected and has changed the way such spaces are perceived and used. Substantial literature is available on public spaces and their design, the star designer associated with the space, and the description of the design virtues. In addition, there is a growing body of literature focusing on the production of space, the concept of place, and cultural/sociological issues on the use of the space. However, there is a substantial lack of knowledge on the redevelopment and redesign processes, or how redesigning can potentially destroy the character and meaning of a public space and how a designer should ideally approaches the process.

The focus of this research is to identify all the factors that play an important role in the proper redesign and redevelopment of a public space project, more specifically urban parks. Understanding the important dominant factors guiding such projects will contribute to a more effective planning and urban design for public spaces.

The main case study is Washington Square Park, which is undergoing an expensive redevelopment amid controversy and opposition from the public. On the basis of personal observations supported by literature review, this thesis identifies the important attributes and issues surrounding the redesign of this important public space in New York City. Furthermore, recommendations based on the study findings are advanced, directed towards the designer of the public space proposed to be redesigned. These recommendations can be used as guidelines to facilitate the redesigning process. The main intention of this research is to raise sensitivity among the key players, especially the designers, toward the whole process so as enable them to tackle the complex issues associated with the redesigning of public spaces in a well-informed manner.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:public space redesigning

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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