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Children, Youth and Environments (2004)
Wridt, P. J.
In this paper I present childhood biographies of three people who grew up in or near a public housing development located on the border between the contrasting communities of Yorkville and East Harlem in New York City. Stories of their middle childhood (ages 11-13) poignantly capture the social and spatial evolution of play and recreation in New York City from the 1930s until present time. Based on in-depth childhood autobiographies and archival materials from the New York Times, I demonstrate changes in children’s access to play and recreation space, how children negotiate their lived experiences in these spaces, and how these spaces reflect differing representations of childhood over time. While play and recreation are, of course, a broad range of activities that occur in multiple settings and under various forms of supervision, the focus of this paper is upon the role of the streets, public parks and playgrounds in children’s everyday lives. Preliminary results suggest that children’s access to public play spaces in New York City has declined over time. This decline can be attributed to public disinvestment in neighborhood parks and playgrounds, perceived (and real) violence in these spaces, and more recently, to the commercialization and privatization of playtime activities.
International journal of urban and regional research (2012)
This article examines two different models of space management, devised by NGOs to confront the marketization of public space in New York City through privatizing the land of community gardens. The Trust for Public Land promotes a model that emphasizes community ownership, while the New York Restoration Project promotes a model that emphasizes the preservation of land. The article compares the two models of NGO management of community gardens particularly through the lens of community participation, sense of ownership and control over space, and argues that both models transform the meaning of public space in ways that undermine its opportunity to develop as an autonomous community space.
City & Society (1998)
The notion of a hidden city of social reproduction, suggests that the uneven relations and material practices of social reproduction are respectively hidden and targeted by a neo-liberal urban agenda. A discussion of the public-private Grand Central Partnership in New York City, reveals some of the ways that this agenda is pursued through preservation, and addresses how particular social actors and their activities are removed from view in the interests of ensuring "orderly," "clean," and "safe" public space.
Berkeley Journal of Sociology (1992)
Mattson, A., & Duncombe, S.
URBAN DESIGN International (2011)
Stephan Schmidt, Erik Botsford & Jeremy Nemeth
New York City has actively engaged the private sector in providing publicly accessible spaces through the use of density bonuses and other mechanisms since 1961. In this article, we examine how the changing regulatory environment, promulgated by zoning reforms of the mid-1970s that advocated for increased amenity creation, has impacted the use, design and management of privately owned public space (POPS). We examine 123 POPS – 47 constructed before the mid-1970s reforms, 76 built after the reforms – using an index to measure levels of control or openness in publicly accessible space. We find that compared with prereform spaces, post-reform spaces encourage use through the introduction of design features and signage, but discourage use by decreasing accessibility of the space and increasing the amount of subjective rules and regulations. We also find that the reforms had no significant impact on use or sociability. Our findings can help guide planners and policymakers in New York City and elsewhere to understand how they can not only encourage better privately owned spaces, but perhaps even mandate them.
Journal of Public Health Policy (2009)
Neckerman K.N., et. al
Although many low-income urban areas are highly walkable by conventional measures such as population density or land use mix, chronic diseases related to lack of physical activity are more common among residents of these areas. Disparities in neighborhood conditions may make poor areas less attractive environments for walking, offsetting the advantages of density and land use mix. This study compared poor and nonpoor neighborhoods in New York City, using geographic information systems measures constructed from public data for US census tracts within New York City (N = 2,172) as well as field observation of a matched-pair sample of 76 block faces on commercial streets in poor and nonpoor neighborhoods. Poor census tracts had significantly fewer street trees, landmarked buildings, clean streets, and sidewalk cafes, and higher rates of felony complaints, narcotics arrests, and vehicular crashes. The field observation showed similar results. Improving aesthetic and safety conditions in poor neighborhoods may help reduce disparities in physical activity among urban residents.
American Sociological Review (2002)
The 1992 Los Angeles riot, the boycotts of Korean-owned businesses, and the 1995 firebombing of a Jewish-owned store in New York's Harlem brought concerns about race and ethnic relations in black neighborhoods to the fore. Images of conflict seared into the public consciousness that black communities are fraught with racial animosity, with immigrant merchants pitted against black customers. The merchant- customer relationship has been cited as a catalyst to such conflicts. This image of conflict, however, is inconsistent with most merchant-customer interactions and does not reflect the full range of commercial life in black communities. Most merchant- customer interactions are civil and ordinary. Civil relations prevail because merchants foster civility, abate tensions, and thwart conflict. However, under conditions of extreme inequality, small events can trigger racial anger, and the symbolic significance of nonblack-owned businesses can become a stimulus of motivations for protest that leads to boycotts and firebombings. This study is based on 75 in-depth interviews of African American, Jewish, and Korean merchants and on 75 in-depth interviews with black customers and both participant and nonparticipant observation at five research sites in New York City and Philadelphia.
Liz Bondi & Mona Domosh
Journal of Planning Education and Research (2016)
Reid Ewing, William Greene, Amir Hajrasouliha, Kathryn M. Neckerman & Marnie Purciel-Hill
By measuring twenty streetscape features and numerous other variables for 588 blocks in New York City, we were able to identify variables that explain pedestrian traffic volumes. We found significant positive correlations between three out of twenty streetscape features with pedestrian counts after controlling for density and other built environmental variables. The significant streetscape features are the proportion of windows on the street, the proportion of active street frontage, and the number of pieces of street furniture. This study provides guidance for streetscape projects that aim to create walkable streets and pedestrian-friendly environments.
Journal of the American Planning Association (2007)
Jeremy Németh & Stephan Schmidt
Safety and security are essential components of urban public space management, particularly since September 11, 2001. Although security is necessary for creating spaces the public will use, making it a top priority is often criticized for restricting social interaction, constraining individual liberties, and unjustly excluding certain populations. This study examines legal, design, and policy tools used to exert social and behavioral control in publicly accessible urban spaces. Based on a review of the relevant literature and extensive site visits to spaces in New York City, we create an index that uses 20 separate indicators in four broad categories to quantify the degree to which the use of a space is controlled. Since comparable instruments do not exist, we propose our index be used to evaluate publicly accessible spaces. We suggest several potential applications useful in planning practice and for testing theories about public space.
Urban Studies (2010)
For Friedmann and Wolff, the citadel's physical form—physically defended enclaves in the global city—shapes relations between citadels and outsiders. Subsequent work claims that the designs of citadels produce simulated community life, exclude the city and sanitise public spaces. However, such claims have been based on relatively brief observations. This ethnography assesses the impact of design by examining the quintessential citadel of Battery Park City, in New York City, while the community mobilised against plans for a highway tunnel bordering their community during redevelopment of the neighbouring World Trade Center site. Community life is robust. However, the influence of the physical design is borne out in previously unrecognised ways: residents are identified as a crucial new constituency promoting exclusivity in the global city.
City & Community (2009)
Sharon Zukin, Peter Frase, Danielle Jackson, Tim Recuber, Valerie Trujillo & Abraham Walker
Since the 1970s, certain types of upscale restaurants, cafés, and stores have emerged as highly visible signs of gentrification in cities all over the world. Taking Harlem and Williamsburg as field sites, we explore the role of these new stores and services (“boutiques”) as agents of change in New York City through data on changing composition of retail and services, interviews with new store owners, and discursive analysis of print media. Since the 1990s, the share of boutiques, including those owned by small local chains, has dramatically increased, while the share of corporate capital (large chain stores) has increased somewhat, and the share of traditional local stores and services has greatly declined. The media, state, and quasi-public organizations all value boutiques, which they see as symbols and agents of revitalization. Meanwhile, new retail investors—many, in Harlem, from the new black middle class—are actively changing the social class and ethnic character of the neighborhoods. Despite owners’ responsiveness to community identity and racial solidarity, “boutiquing” calls attention to displacement of local retail stores and services on which long-term, lower class residents rely and to the state’s failure to take responsibility for their retention, especially in a time of economic crisis.
Staeheli, L. A., Mitchell, D., & Gibson, K.
In the mid-1990s, New York City initiated what would prove to be a long, highly visible struggle involving rights claims related to property, housing, and public space in the form of community gardens. The competing discourses of rights were part of a struggle over the kind of city that New York was to become, and more specifically, whether it would be one in which difference is accepted and in which access to the city and the public realm would be guaranteed. Using interviews with participants in the conflict over community gardens, we evaluate how the resolution to the gardens crisis, which in part occurred through the privatization of what are often taken to be public or community rights to land, transform not only the legal status of the gardens but also, potentially, their role as places where different ‘publics’ can both exercise their right to the city and solidify that right in the landscape.
Urban Design and Planning (2017)
Cushing D., Pennings M.
Public art is an artistic expression created in streets, squares and other public spaces, including parks. Using the two popular public parks in the New York City, Central Park and the High Line, this paper explores the affordances offered by public art in these two urban environments, with a focus on physical, intellectual and emotional connections between the visitor, the artwork and the landscape setting. Using affordance theory as a framework, it considers the design of the landscape as a behaviour setting that affords viewing, acknowledgement and reflection of the artwork within the contemporary cultural context. Using preliminary qualitative observations of six artworks within the two parks, this research suggests that public art has the potential to afford such diverse opportunities for public park visitors. In order for these affordances to be actualised, the design of the park and the artwork’s intentions should be coordinated to ensure that the experiences of the visitor align with the claimed benefits of public art.
This paper looks at new, high-profile redevelopment projects in Tokyo and New York City and their surroundings for examples of trends in the design of urban public spaces and changing patterns in how they are used. This includes new parks and other open spaces, landscaped plazas or public squares associated with new office towers, shopping centers and other largescale commercial developments, and various popular “festival sites” such as those along recreation waterfronts. A comparison indicates that both cities have quite a few new public spaces that enhance the quality of urban life and add aesthetic appeal, but that also reflect certain social problems and divisions. We see the following common trends: (1) increasing privatization of spaces that were once more clearly in the public domain; (2) increasing surveillance of public spaces and control of access to them in order to improve security; and (3) increasing use of design themes that employ “theme park” simulations and break connections with local history and geography. In the Tokyo area there is also a curious trend to create large, landscaped open areas near new development projects that few people use. They can be called “planned wastelands” or “new urban deserts”. New York City, on the other hand, has succeeded in having more people come together for enjoyment in parts of the city that were once all but abandoned. The paper is illustrated with photographs, and draws on the examples of Times Square, South Street Seaport and Battery Park City in New York, and Yebisu Garden Place,
Teleport–Daiba, Makuhari New Town and Minato Mirai 21 in the Tokyo–Yokohama area.
International journal of urban and regional research (2010)
Németh, J. & Hollander, J.
Urban scholars lament the loss of public space due to heightened security and behavioral controls borne of economic priorities and anti‐terror concerns after September 11th 2001. Owners and managers of government buildings, banks and courthouses have closed streets and fitted the surrounding space with concrete barriers, bollards and moat‐like structures to prevent potential terror attacks. These are reasonable protections in emergency situations, but, as threat levels fall, these zones fail to incorporate a diversity of users, privatizing the space for those with security clearance. The ubiquity of these zones encourages us to consider them as a new type of land use. To test this statement, we describe the results of site visits to two high‐profile New York City neighborhoods (one with numerous civic buildings, the other populated with corporate headquarters). Using a simple tool we developed, we find that 27% of aggregate non‐building area in the two districts is now in a security zone. Interestingly, the percentage of space within each district that can be classed as a security zone is reasonably similar, providing insight into the way in which terror targets are internally and externally defined and justified. We argue that this new type of land use is an important and permanent feature of twenty‐first century global cities.
Journal of Urban Economics (2011)
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) provide supplemental services to urban commercial corridors using funds from member assessments. They have become a very popular urban revitalization tool, but their formation is still largely unexplained. Theory implies that BIDs will form if they add to aggregate welfare and if the marginal net benefit of membership is positive. I test this for the neighborhood overall and at the BID boundary. Using unique, micro-level and longitudinal data from New York City, I employ survival analysis methods to estimate the likelihood of a neighborhood forming a BID. I then estimate the likelihood of the marginal property’s BID membership by comparing the characteristics of properties located immediately inside and outside of the BID boundaries. I find that BIDs are more likely to form when there is more commercial space over which the BID benefits can be capitalized and when there is homogeneity in service and spending preferences across properties. BIDs also tend to form in neighbor- hoods that possess signs of appreciation and growth. Generally, BIDs are more likely to form in neighbor- hoods with higher valued properties with the exception of very wealthy areas. The BID boundary, however, is comprised of relatively less valuable properties.
Theory and Society (2009)
Jeffrey L. Kidder
Over the last 30 years, social theorists have increasingly emphasized the importance of space. However, in empirical research, the dialectical relationship between social interaction and the physical environment is still a largely neglected issue. Using the theory of structuration, I provide a concrete example of why and how space matters in the cultural analysis of an urban social world. I argue that bike messengers—individuals who deliver time-sensitive materials in downtown cores of major cities—cannot be understood outside an analysis of space. Specifically, I connect the cultural significance of messenger practices to the emplacement of those practices inside the urban environment.
Urban Studies (2009)
This paper empirically explores the management of privately owned public space. It examines 163 spaces produced through New York City’s incentive zoning programme, whereby developers provide and manage a public space in exchange for fl oor area ratio (FAR) bonuses. Developers of these bonus spaces employ a variety of management approaches, each correlating with common theories of spatial control in publicly owned spaces. However, as developer priorities are often fi scally driven, most approaches severely limit political, social and democratic functions of public space and produce a constricted defi nition of the public. As such, privately owned public spaces have deleterious effects on concepts of citizenship and representation, even as they become the new models for urban space provision and management.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN AND REGIONAL RESEARCH (2015)
The socio-legal technology of licensing is one of the primary tools governments use to manage spaces and practices deemed risky or threatening to public order. Licensing requirements thus play a crucial role in shaping routine experiences in public space as well as the trajectories of emerging forms of public life. Yet licensing laws have largely been ignored in critical urban scholarship: too often concerned with the interpretation and critique of popular practices and public spaces, the mundane operations of urban governance are often left to practitioners and policy researchers. This article demonstrates how paying closer attention to licensure can provide valuable and unexpected insights into matters of social equality, urban amenity and economic opportunity. It does so through a comparative inquiry into practices of street food vending in New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon. Drawing on ethnographic study and interviews, the article demonstrates how licensing can be involved in the production of quite peculiar and unjust geographies of practice, but also how shifts in popular culture can force a reconsideration of taken-for- granted laws. In conclusion, it is argued that a focus on licensing offers a productive pathway for new forms of critical urban research and provides a potential point of leverage in efforts to configure better and more democratic forms of urban public life.