Public Life and Urban Justice in NYC’s Plazas

Gehl Studio and J. Max Bond Center
Gehl Institute.

Collaborators on this report spent eighteen months studying public plazas across New York City to answer the question, “Can the design of public space have a positive impact on public life and urban justice?” In addition to analyzing public spaces and talking to their users, the researchers studied how the design process and ongoing management of plazas can affect equity and public-life outcomes. But the report is not just about plazas: operating under the belief that “you measure what you care about,” it is fundamentally about transforming the way municipalities evaluate their investments. The project shows how justice-oriented evaluation efforts can pave the way for systemic change.

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Organizations Referenced

Transportation Alternatives, Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, NYC Department of Transportation

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