A tool to evaluate urban plazas for planning and design patterns that support sociability
Stebbins, Christopher William
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This thesis brings attention to the loss of public spaces throughout America over the last seventy years. Public spaces in the urban realm, known as urban plazas and city squares, are particularly important for the social health of communities. This is made clear throughout a large body of literature in the psychological, social, and design sciences. Despite the social importance of urban public spaces, this thesis reveals a shortcoming in the amount of practical design recommendations for promoting sociability within the leading landscape certification system in America, the SITES v2 Rating System. Through a comprehensive literature review, this thesis develops and tests a landscape evaluation tool for determining the presence or absence of planning and design principles that support sociability in urban plazas. This evaluation method may be used to rank the social efficacy of existing sites, or used as a set of guidelines to develop new ones.