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Communal Chaos

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by Parissah Lin

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 Beach

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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My Summer with Worthy

In Social Spaces, New York City, A Sense of Place by Mark Strage

Located on West 4th Street right above the subway stop is one of the most infamous basketball courts in the world. “The Cage”, as it is referred to more often by spectating tourists than players, with its small dimensions and only somewhat enforced self call foul system lends itself to a particularly physical brand of ball. The Fence serves as …

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Designing Instinct

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by Henry Choa

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 Ford

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 Prof

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 Silva

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 Kapoor

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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Quality not Quantity of Space

In Social Spaces, A Sense of Place by Kahala Bonsignore

Along New York City’s West Side Highway exists a narrow strip of land sandwiched between the highway and the Hudson River.  One could say that the land continues around the entirety of the island of Manhattan, wrapping around the south and becoming the East River Park.  The particular area I would like to focus on is the greenbelt that stretches …

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A Park with Potential

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

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 Smillie

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 Grinnell

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, …