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Communal Chaos

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by Parissah LinLeave a Comment

Maria Hernandez Park was my first “neighborhood park” in the city. Because I spent the first two years of university living in housing in Manhattan, I never felt part of a neighborhood, and so I never became acquainted with any of the public space in a way that made me feel like anything other than a tourist or a commuter, …

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New York ‘Public’ Transportation

In Social Spaces, New York City, A Sense of Place by Dylan Beach2 Comments

I’m not exactly sure what constitutes as ‘public space’ in America today. The British, as early as the late 12th Century, started privatizing what might have been known as ‘public space’ (a process known as Enclosure). Therefore, it is arguable that the Western World, including New York, doesn’t really have ‘public space,’ for there are certainly no ejidos to be …

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Designing Instinct

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by Henry Choa1 Comment

In the creation of any public space, it is the designer’s goal to manipulate the flow of people as he intends. In a well-executed public space, however, it is often the designer’s goal to do so without the use of explicit visual cues. Every time we enter a park, plaza, movie theater, even bathroom, we unknowingly place our fates in …

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The Unshakeable Moveable Chair

In Social Spaces, New York City, A Sense of Place by Jacob FordLeave a Comment

Design is a battleground, the two fronts each the respective and opposing answer to a question which cuts to the core ethics of a built environment, and that question is: who knows best? Designer, or user? The foray is rarely so crisp, often muddied by designers who are users and clients who hire the designers but represent consumers but these are mere double agents …

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The Politics of the Mess Hall

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by ProfLeave a Comment

For three years of varying moments of despair and joy I attended an all-male military school founded on the morals and dogma of the United States Marine Corps. Three times a day Monday through Friday, twice on Saturday, and once or twice, depending on my mood, on Sunday I spent my time, generally less than 15 minutes or so, stuffing …

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The Underground Arena

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by Astrid Da Silva1 Comment

Freshman year, I used to spend a lot of my time hanging around Union Square Park and throughout the year found myself spending increasingly more time underground. The Union Square subway stop is obviously a popular station as it serves as the intersection of seven subway lines. The subway, being a mass form of transportation, inevitably draws a tremendous range …

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Blueprint for a Beach

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by Jaisal Kapoor1 Comment

As someone who prefers wide open spaces to skyscrapers and towers, I happen to find myself on a beach whenever the opportunity presents itself. Sandy beaches are interesting spaces to observe because unlike most other public spaces, and contrary to William Whyte’s findings, people do not usually have to search hard for a place to sit. Last year, my friends …

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A Park with Potential

In Social Spaces, New York City, A Sense of Place by Zoe Zachary1 Comment

I probably would’ve never found North Point Park if I hadn’t been on a bike. That’s one of the main problems with this beautiful green space: its largely inaccessible. Wedged between two highways, the park is a sort of peninsula, extending out into the Charles River. Located on the Cambridge side of the river, specifically East Cambridge, the park faces …

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Pedestrian crossings in Tokyo and New York

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by Maia SmillieLeave a Comment

The video documentary of Whyte’s study of public spaces reminded me of a documentary film called ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ that I think is really worth watching in case anyone hasn’t yet. It highlights scenes from rural and urban areas and, in a very non-intrusive way, slightly alters our perspective of these very common scenes. At about min. 25 and min. 1.05, there are scenes …

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Comparing Parks

In Social Spaces, New York City, A Sense of Place by Colin Grinnell1 Comment

Very near NYU, there are two public parks.  Both are large in size, both are used as a place of performance, relaxation, socialization, and as a walkway. The spaces are widely popular and a landmark for the neighborhood. However, one space works and the other does not. Washington Square Park makes excellent use of its space. It provides variety, beauty, …