Public Space as Art and Commodity

The Spanish American Plaza
  • Setha M. Low


This chapter tackles the problem of the relationship of architecture and visual culture to “unstable” cultural meanings by providing an analysis of a designed urban form—the Spanish American plaza. The examination of the public space as art and commodity provides a glimpse of the contradictions between the artistic and often idealized representational purposes of the urban plaza and its political and economic base. Bringing these contradictions to light helps to demystify visual culture and highlights the ways in which architecture and urban design are deeply ideological both in artistic style and political purpose.


Public Space Urban Design Cultural Meaning Landscape Design National Theater 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agar, M. (1986). Speaking of ethnography.Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of culture.New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  3. Harvey, D. (1989). The condition of postmodernity.Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Lefebvre, H. (1991). The production of space (Nicholson-Smith, trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Low, S. (1993). Cultural meaning of the plaza. In B. Rotenberg & G. McDonogh (Eds.), The cultural meaning of urban space (pp. 75–94). Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey.Google Scholar
  6. Zukin, S. (1995). The cultures of cities.Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Setha M. Low
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Psychology and Department of AnthropologyGraduate School and University Center of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations