Atmospheres and Bureaucracy: Challenging Everyday Perception and Regulation of Public Space
M. ARCH I
urbanism, public space, NYC, urban space planning, infrastructure, architecture
It is common for us to overlook the everyday elements encountered in the city such as public Wi-Fi beacons, aestheticized benches, bike-sharing stations, and other items which have colonized street-scapes. In reality, these components are cosigned by business investment districts, private businesses, and city governments who stand to proﬁt by maintaining control of public space. This struggle between formal and informal urbanism has been played out globally. The best example of informal urban contention can be found in street vending policy. An increasingly congested sidewalk, in conjunction with convoluted policies in places such as New York City, has made street vendor’s livelihood nearly impossible. A restrictive urban space planning model has resulted in a homogeneous street-scape which questions the publics rights to space.
The case study of street vendors proves that streets have become over-intermediated and regulated. The urban street can imitate public parks as the last vibrant atmospheres of spontaneous activity and transformation. This thesis contends that by hacking into New York City’s public space planning infrastructure one can break the existing paradigms of regulation and instead multiply of the urban park experience to destabilize perceptions of everyday street elements. If one could call attention to the potential of a more dynamic street through a multi -nodal system of street activators, then perhaps architects and planners would pay more attention to the importance of a more dynamic street. Further, policy-makers could beneﬁ t from understanding that cities require informal space for vibrant urbanism. This project is a part of a long line of architects who have used everyday urban life as an entry point for broader discussions on politics in spatial practices.
Claghorn, Philip, "Atmospheres and Bureaucracy: Challenging Everyday Perception and Regulation of Public Space" (2018). Architecture Senior Theses. 519.
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