Sunday, January 27, 2013

Private use of Public space & Public use of Private space

------Isaiah Berg, Jun Li

*Photos are taken on January 19, 2013

Our photo essay examines the way public and private space is used in the International District and Columbia City. We interpret a ‘Shared City” as blurring between public and private domains.  


Photo1 shows police descend on a private Chinese association gathering in China town foreground.  In Photo 2-3, the private event is permitted to shut-down the public street temporarily because the Chinese association showcases Kung Fu for elders and visitors.

Photo4 show the public sidewalk in the International District is occupied by local merchants to sell mixed vegetables. And such phenomenon is very common and has existed for many years.

*Photo1-4 are taken in King Street, International District, Seattle, WA 98104 


Our next location was in Columbia City from south Seattle.
In Photo 5-6 we can see how private space is used publicly. A mural is unveiled after 18 months of work.  The mural attracts a dozen people, initially artists and their friends came, but as the crowd grows, larger audiences from the neighborhood follow to be attracted by the mural. 
Neighborhood non-profit groups and community organizations helped to fund this mural project; they receive a sort of advertising acknowledgement on the mural. The building and parking lot on the pictures are privately owned, but clearly benefit the public.
The mural displays the past, present and utopian future of Columbia city.
Photo7 is part of the mural, it highlights the cultural diversity of Columbia city and adverts such value to the public in this private place.

As Photo8 shows, the benefit is blurred. This private nearby shop gains business from the increased foot traffic. This privately-own mural benefits the nearby commerce, it as well helps to brand Columbia city for its culture and value, thus mutually benefiting both public and private interests.

*Photo5-8 are taken in Columbia City Seattle WA 98118

We often think about urban space as either public or private, but this binary does not explain the reality of urban living. Often public space is used by private organizations, and increasingly private space is used for the public good. The “Shared City” should welcome everyone to be engaged and interact with each other (diverse classes, genders, and ages), no matter the place inside belongs to public or private.

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