Use patterns of formal and informal public space in east Austin, Texas

dc.contributor.advisorLieberknecht, Katherine E.
dc.creatorStevens, Lee Bridges
dc.creator.orcid0000-0001-7509-074X 2018
dc.description.abstractAustin, Texas has a history of spatial segregation that still shapes the city’s landscape. Highway I-35 forms both a physical and psychological barrier between the west, predominately white part of the city, and the predominately Hispanic and African American east side. Quality public amenity and services are disproportionately lacking in the east side of the city because of this history, creating unequal access to public spaces for eastside residents. This report explores how remnant urban land or public rights-of-way can be used informally by Austin’s east side residents to supplement public amenity and provide the social platform necessary for healthy communities. Four sites were used in this study, two formal parks and two informal spaces, to comparatively examine the use dynamics and elements of physical design of east side spaces. The two formal parks are Rosewood Neighborhood Park and Givens District park, both located east of I-35, and the two informal spaces are a vacant, privately owned lot and a neighborhood street, Richardine Avenue. The two informal spaces supported greater social activity during most hours of the day and evening. They are both small, unprogrammed spaces that provide their users with visibility, use flexibility, and close proximity to both housing and corridors of activity to foster spontaneous social interactions. The two parks supported more physical activity and had greater capacity but were less consistently occupied than their informal counterparts. The informal spaces served both residents directly surrounding the area and those passing through. To create a more equitable solution for public space infusion in east Austin, planners should consider creating more small-scale spaces with the flexibility of programming to be adapted to better meet the social and recreational needs of residents directly adjacent to the space.
dc.description.departmentCommunity and Regional Planning
dc.subjectInformal public space
dc.subjectUse patterns
dc.subjectFormal public space
dc.subjectEast Austin
dc.subjectSpatial segregation
dc.subjectUse dynamics
dc.subjectRosewood Neighborhood Park
dc.subjectGivens District Park
dc.subjectRichardine Avenue
dc.subjectEast Austin social activity
dc.subjectSpontaneous social interaction
dc.subjectEquitable public space
dc.subjectAustin segregation
dc.subjectFlexible public spaces
dc.subjectPublic amenity equity
dc.subjectPublic services equity
dc.subjectUnequal access
dc.titleUse patterns of formal and informal public space in east Austin, Texas
dc.type.materialtext and Regional Planning and Regional Planning University of Texas at Austin of Science in Community and Regional Planning

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