Manhattan's Public Spaces : Production, Revitalization, Commodification book cover
1st Edition

Manhattan's Public Spaces
Production, Revitalization, Commodification

ISBN 9781032056401
Published November 30, 2021 by Routledge
202 Pages 54 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Manhattan’s Public Spaces: Production, Revitalization, Commodification analyzes a series of architectural works and their contribution to New York’s public space over the past few decades. By exploring a mix of urban mechanisms, supportive frameworks, legal systems, and planning guidelines for the transformation of the city’s collective realm, the text frames Manhattan as a controversial landscape of interests and concerns to authorities, communities, and, very importantly, developers.

The production, revitalization, and commodification of Manhattan’s public spaces, as a phenomenon and as a subject of study, also highlights the vicissitudes of the reconciliation of the many different agents, which are part of the process. The challenge of the book does not only lie in the analysis of good design but, more importantly, in how to understand the functional mechanisms for the current trends in the production of space for public use. A complex framework of actors, governance, and market monopolies, which invites the reader to participate in the debate of how these interventions contribute, or not, to an inclusive environment anchored in the existing built fabric.

Manhattan’s Public Spaces invites reflection on the revitalization of the city’s shared space from all dimensions. Beautifully illustrated in black and white, with over 50 images, this book will be of interest to scholars and students in architecture, planning, and urban design.

Table of Contents


Robert Fishman


Privacy vs. publicness in an increasingly shared city

PART I: Production
In the making of openness, incentive mechanisms and corporate capitalism

1 Goodbye, La Guardia
2 Lever House and Seagram Plaza

3 ´Plaza Bonus´: One Chase Manhattan, 140 Broadway and One Liberty

PART II: Revitalization

Participatory processes and the critical engagement with recreational demands

4 Crisis and opportunity

5 Harlem and Paley Park: collaborative inventions

6 Teardrop Park: reinventing urban grounds

PART III: Commodification

Constituting identities and antagonistic encounters within the neoliberal city

7 Battery Park City vs. Gantry Park

8 The logic of the air rights

9 Identity crisis: Lincoln Center and the High Line


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Ana Morcillo Pallarés is a Spanish architect, researcher, and designer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Cieza, Spain. Her research and creative practice critically engage today’s increasing need for more shared space as an ongoing process of continuous agreements among the diverse networks of people who are part of the city. Her work has been featured in the Journal of Architectural Education, VLC Arquitectura, MONU, and the Plan Journal, among others. Ana is an assistant professor at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where she initiated her academic career as the 2015 Walter B. Sander Research Fellow. She received her Ph.D. from the Polytechnic School of Madrid and her professional degree in architecture from the Polytechnic School of Valencia.


This book is a remarkable window onto a unique moment in the history of New York – and the history of contemporary urban design - when squalor, decline, innovation and opportunity somehow existed simultaneously.

- Robert Fishman