Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Leslie Lee

Second Advisor

Peter Stempel


This thesis investigates the history of public space and how it has changed over time. Looking specifically at how social, historical, and advances in technology have influenced and changed the meaning and use of public spaces. Studies of history and its characteristics and case studies check the validity of paradigm of public spaces in Manhattan. The modern features of Manhattan have been completed over 200 hundreds years with Industrial revolutions and influx of immigrants. Due to these reasons, the main focus was to track of causalities among life style changes, social paradigms, and changes of urban landscapes.

As cities developed, most infrastructures and resources have been distributed to satisfy the publics’ needs. New York City is the most populous city in the States, and is the cultural and financial capital of the world. Through the creation of public space, social construction is considered to be privately ruled by the implicit and explicit rules and expectations of the space that are enforced. As Central Park, Time Square, Starbucks cafe, and Lincoln Center vitalize the urban area, public space patterns reveal the urban camouflage of New York as a registration of citizen survival methods. The urban public finds opportunistic spaces to co-opt into the new public realm.

Over time, the needs that define public spaces have expanded and changed. Jerold Kayden, a Harvard Professor of City Planning, regarded those spaces as ‘Privately Owned Public Space’ (POPS). POPS and semi-public spaces serve public uses through partnerships between public and private domains. Public space, Semi-publc space, and POPS can be great future public space models for legal, economic perspectives and future public space type



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