April 27, 2018

Summer Class: Public Space, Public Life

This class introduces students to the concept of public space, its role in the city’s social and political relations, and the tools for intervening in public spaces. How are public spaces democratic? How do people present themselves, view others, and interact in these spaces? What are the rules of behavior, and how are they enforced? Who belongs there? Is a mall or a coffee shop a public space? Does it matter if everyone is looking down at their screens? How can physical design or programmed activities change the character of public spaces? This class will explore these issues in two ways. First, we will use foundational readings and exemplary case studies as a basis for class discussions on how public spaces have been theorized, created, and studied. Second, we will use Seattle spaces as our own case studies for students to practice looking at, inhabiting, and intervening in public space for their own creative projects.