Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Public" Public and "Private" Public

In urban design, an open space could be defined as public or private that can be shared by several users within the area. We focused on two spaces in International District that practices the idea of “city sharing.” Our investigation of “public” public space started around 1 o’clock in the afternoon in Hing Hay Park on King Street. Although this park is very open to the users, the boundaries are definitive as it is bounded by adjacent buildings and sidewalks. This idea emerged when we saw multiple chess boards for diverse ethnicity set in the stone bench, inviting people to share this public space. The park is used for different recreational activities such as playing chess with a friend or going to the night market which is held there occasionally.

Hing Hay Park

On the other hand, the “private” public space occurs along four surrounding office buildings on S Weller Street and 5th Ave creating a fortified courtyard ideally for workers. The progression of the courtyard serves three groups of occupants; semi-private courtyard for the workers, public outdoor seating at Starbucks and Tully’s for workers and passerby, and public transit center for commuters. The boundaries between these three spaces are blurred as each space blends into another creating a transition among the different users.

S Weller St and 5th Ave, near International District Metro station

In contrast of these two areas, the design for Hing Hay Park incorporates cultural diversity into its park elements while the fortified courtyard merges businesses and outdoor sculptures. These “city sharing” spaces are structured differently because it aims to attract distinct user groups within the city.


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