First Advisor

Todd Ferry

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Architecture and University Honors




Public spaces -- Oregon -- Portland, Benches, Public use, Urban sociology, Social marginality




Outdoor public space is essential to a healthy city and society. A component of such spaces are areas for staying, where people can either watch the world go by or explicitly interact with others. However, recent bureaucratic trends target and remove seating areas, such as benches, in an attempt to remove loitering, houseless activity and crimes. This public life study tries to better understand how benches are used in the public urban setting, by observing how people interact with the design of the space itself and with one another in three different locations in downtown Portland, Oregon. It is hoped that by analyzing this behaviour, the designers of our cities can have a better understanding of how to get people to stay in these public spaces and interact with people that are "other" to themselves.


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