Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Kathryn Foley

Second Advisor

Nick DePace


This thesis explores the possibilities of in-between spaces bounded by the realms of public and private experience in an urban environment, specifically situated in Downtown Providence, RI. This thesis begins by questioning the meaning of what public space is and how we as humans choose to inhabit space that has been given a particular program or quality. What allows a person to feel that he or she has ownership over a public space? Through the interdisciplinary lens of Landscape Architecture and Interior Architecture, the subsequent phases will analyze how people in Downtown Providence perceive and utilize space within the city and how the city could be reimagined by activating interstitial spaces. What constitutes public space and how ownership can be attributed to a public space is vital to understanding the characteristics and life involved in in-between spaces such as alleyways.

The specific spaces being examined in this thesis are alleyways. It is due to their ambiguous nature that they have become a testing ground for addressing new potential public space in Providence. Alleyways are adjacent to fixed architectural elements, accessible yet set back, even interior, from the street and are often seen as places of seedy activity. But they are places where positive life is also going on and where healthy life can be sustained by the inhabitants around them. What if this underused space could be more than just a place for neighboring buildings to store their garbage? How could they be brought into the public light? We live in a growing world and there is an increasing need for public space within a decreasing supply of available space, so we must consider spaces already in existence. This thesis will contribute to a new concept of “scape” to be considered within the discipline.



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