Art or lunch? Redesigning a public for federal plaza

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The history of Federal Plaza/Jacob Javits Plaza shows how government officials, artists, designers, and critics engage in ongoing processes of design, critique, and redesign. The fountain proved difficult to maintain, and was eventually turned off altogether. It may not have been a place where people wanted to linger, particularly after the fountain broke, because of the wind in the winter or the heat in the summer. Schwartz completely transformed the space. What was once an open, if inhospitable, area is now filled with oversized furnishings bordered at the building edge by a broad path and antiterrorist bollards. The ongoing history of design at Federal Plaza clearly illustrates that public space and the public are both physically produced and rhetorically constructed. At City Hall, government officials used regulation to control how the steps were used and by whom. At Federal Plaza, the same results were achieved through rhetoric and design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPublic Space Reader
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781351202541
ISBN (Print)9780815385035
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis.


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