Te-Sheng Huang
Te-Sheng Huang

Urban Environment


Work Position
Teaching Assistant

Date passed dissertation defense 
April 25, 2013 


Te-Sheng Huang is currently a doctoral candidate in the Urban Systems PhD Program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He serves as student representative on the Executive Board of the program. In 2012, he, with his other four colleagues, successfully organized the first time conference, Urban Change through Education, Health, and Environment, in the Urban Systems program. Te-Sheng received his Master of Science degree in Architecture from Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Feng Chia University, graduating as the most academically distinguished student in his class. He was elected an honorary member of the Phi-Tau-Phi Scholastic Honor Society by the branch of FCU in Taiwan in 2002 and a member of Alpha Epsilon Lambda Chapter by NJIT in 2012 for his outstanding academic achievement. After completing his master’s degree in 2005, he worked as an architectural designer and focused on housing and landscape design. Three years later, he became a licensed architect in Taiwan. His research interests include public space, neighborhood development, and urban planning and revitalization. He has presented his in research at several conferences including the annual conferences of the Environmental Design Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry and the American Psychological Association. In 2012, Te-Sheng as a co-author with Professor Karen A. Franck wrote a chapter, Occupying Public Space, 2011: From Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park, in Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space edited by Ron Shiffman et al.

Title of Dissertation

Is the Public Invited? Design and Management of Privately Owned Public Spaces in New York City

Dissertation Abstract

Researchers in urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture and sociology often criticize the increasing privatization of public space in the US for limiting the diversity of uses and users. Privately owned public spaces in New York City have received this critique. However, careful empirical research, with onsite observations of specific spaces and interviews with building managers, architects and city officials, is still largely lacking. Nor have researchers systematically investigated the full range of design features and management regulations and practices that do, or do not, serve to exclude certain kinds of activities and occupants. This study does precisely that as well as examining the influence that city agencies have, or have not, exerted over the original design, redesign and management practices.

In this research 24 fully enclosed, privately owned public spaces in Manhattan were studied. Preliminary field observations indicate that these 24 spaces vary significantly in their inclusiveness when the presence of homeless is used as an indicator of the latter. Subsequently information was collected through onsite observations, interviews with building managers, architects who were involved in the redesign of the spaces, and city officials in the Department of City Planning and archival sources (e.g., reports of City Planning Commission (CPC) and newspaper articles).

The findings indicate that design and management influence the number and diversity of activities and occupants of the 24 indoor privately owned public spaces. Certain design features enhance the quality of the spaces and likely make the spaces inviting. Compared to design features, management practices seem to play a more critical role in determining the number and diversity of activities and occupants. The attitudes of building managers toward certain uses and how they perceive their bonus space(s) compared to traditional public spaces, such as parks, influence how they enforce the rules of conduct posted in the spaces. Consequently, some spaces possessing better environmental quality may be less inclusive than those whose managers are more tolerant of a diversity of uses. Findings indicate that a particular kind of interior privately owned public space – the cross-block atrium – is a good location for people to meet to pursue common interests, suggesting that this kind of place constitutes a new type of public space approximating a community center.




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