To enable a joint language on public space within which all identified research could be organized, we created a number of categories called meta-data. The meta-data has been developed collectively by the academic research team. It consists of a set of information categories that are used to amalgamate similar research phenomena into cross-disciplinary groups, independent of their origin in any specific academic discipline.


In order to identify research papers on public space, we first identified the leading journals in each of the disciplines, and then conducted a search by specific terms, such as “Public Space,” “Public Park,” “Park,” “Plaza,” “Street,” “Public Realm.” In some cases, we conducted an issue-by-issue review of article titles and abstracts to identify any relevant articles on public space throughout that journal. Because this research is ongoing, there are several journals that are in the process of being searched and others that will be searched later. The list of journals yet to be searched in several disciplines. Each article with any discussion of public space was shortlisted, downloaded and collected in a pool of potential articles by the researcher. Each article in this pool was reviewed and assessed by the lead researcher in each team to make a final selection of including the article (or not) in the Public Space Database. Finally, we supplemented this list with a smaller number of influential articles that came from lesser-known journals.


In order to categorize each article, we denominated which type of physical types and activities are discussed. The method used by the author was also defined, as well as the discipline the article can be considered part of. Finally, each article was categorized with a 2-tier classification method, using 12 broad domains called Organizing Categories, and respective Organizing Category’s sub-classifications. These are called Key Concepts.